As a woman who falls somewhere (ahem) into this category of people in their 30s and 40s, and who is currently and always struggling with some sort of lower back pain, I am very interested to hear how people my age have avoided this scourge on middle age.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your quality of life, these 16 people have some thoughts!
16. Some things are definitely worth the money.
I think having a good mattress is totally underrated on this topic! When I lived abroad, I had a bed with the perfect firmness for me. No back pain at all even though I walked about 5 miles a day with a backpack on. Moved back to the US and my bed was way too soft and my lower back started hurting within a few days or so.
Finding the mattress with the right firmness for your body type and sleeping style will change your life.
15. Well that’s one way to forget about your back!
The secret is that I have upper right shoulder pain. Constantly.
14. Never neglect your stretches.
I do a couple of yoga stretches after exercise (walk, use weights, or swim). There’s a perfect correspondence: do yoga stretches, no back pain. Do not do yoga stretches, get back pain. I’m nearly 70. I’ve been doing the yoga for many decades.
13. It’s that last part that I suspect really helps.
Doing a several times weekly set of active stretches I got from my doctor when I had back pain in my 20s. Daily when it starts feeling tight.
Also, I keep active and watch my weight.
12. This is what’s really hard to quit.
Don’t spend all day sitting on your arse.
11. But what if you can’t exercise because you can’t stand up?
Go to the gym. You need to strengthen the muscles that support your back, as well as the muscles that make up your back. Core strength is key. I’ve hurt my back many times doing various activities, but if you maintain its strength you can overcome it.
10. A magical cure for some!
I got my tits removed. I went from a J cup to an A, and suddenly no more back pain!
9. Or lifting things up at all really.
Exercise and not lifting things like an idiot.
8. But please, make sure someone directs you how to do it correctly.
Deadlifting and squatting. Deadlifting itself gives you an amazingly strong posterior chain and most people have weak posterior chains leading to bad posture which leads to weak backs and bad posterior chains.
7. Good posture is my nemesis.
This. Also, whenever you know you’ll be seated for too long, put something to support your lower back, like a cushion or pillow, to keep the ‘S’ shape of your spine. Try to keep your ass as back on the seat as possible, so you’re seated on your ischions, not directly on your gluteus. What’s really helpful for example if you’re on a plane is to keep the seat belt really tight, besides the pillow forementioned; you might feel a bit ‘restrained’ at first, but believe me, your back will thank you later.
6. At least you know you’re normal?
Firstly, realize that >80% of the population gets back pain at some point. It’s fairly normal, and for the vast majority of cases, it’s fairly minor and will resolve with time.
The best things you can do to avoid back pain are: Regular exercise. Anything is better than nothing, and the more regularly you exercise, the lower your likely hood of developing lower back pain. This could be as simple as just going for regular walks and stretching often, or as much as getting into a good gym routine and getting a proper lower back strengthening program going.
Being sensible with lifting. Don’t lift heavy things like a muppet; use the muscles that are designed to lift heavy things like your gluts and quads. If something is really heavy/awkward, get help. Bending down to pick something up is fine; you don’t have to deadlift the pen that you just dropped on the floor, but as a general rule, lift with your legs.
If you do injure your back, be aware that the vast majority of lower back injuries are best managed conservatively, through physical rehab and exercise. Surgery should be a last resort. There’s massive over-treatment of lumbar spine issues in the U.S. especially, for reasons that I can expand on if anyone is interested, but just remember that your back is actually pretty robust, and it takes a fair bit to actually do any serious damage to it, to the point of needing surgery.
5. It’s also for half-decrepit thirtysomethings!
Yoga. Not just for hippies.
4. Are you feeling lucky?
I’m turning 50 very soon and have no pain. My secrets are exercise (strength training, flexibility and cardio), weight maintenance, good shoes, and good posture. Luck and genetics play a part too but aren’t controllable factors.
3. So actually care about yourself? Hmm.
In my early 30s I started to get frequent lower back pain, and then had an impinged nerve in my neck.
After physical therapy got me back to manageable I started working out regularly… with a special focus on my back, lower and upper. I also am very careful about lifting anything and refuse to use any work chair that doesnt properly support the way I sit.
Exercise, proper lifting, and posture. Get them right and your back pain will diminish radically.
2. This must be good advice!
I’ll be 30 this year, but I “should” have terrible lower back pain due to my tremendous height (6’8″). The solution?
And weight training in general. Even the stuff that “looks” difficult and strenuous. If you strengthen and stimulate your muscles, your body with thank you for it for years and years.
1. I’m sure genetics do play a role.
My strategy was treating my body like shit and getting very lucky.
Are you going to give any of these a shot?
Let us know if you do and what works for you!