Over the next few weeks we’ll be exploring our pain relief series of challenges, starting with low back and neck pain relief. One of the main things we want you to think about as we talk about relieving pain is not “how do I achieve ‘perfect’ posture to eliminate pain;” but instead, think about “how much time do I spend in the same posture” (i.e. sitting at a desk typing, driving, leaning a certain way, etc.), as this affects your body chronically more than trying to achieve some magical, perfect posture.
As you read about these first two pain spots, keep this idea in mind of how you can use our suggestions to create micro-breaks from your day-to-day routines and postures that go with those routines. Sprinkling these exercises in throughout the day in that micro-break form is more important than trying to find a big chunk of time to do them all at once. Enjoy finding relief by trying these suggestions out, and adjust them to make them easier for yourself if needed. As we always say, small changes = big impacts.
Healthy Is Low Back Relief
The back was designed to absorb and distribute significant forces. By developing your back’s ability to absorb forces and work effectively with its teammates (hips, shoulders, and knees) you are able to enjoy life without pain knocking at your door.
WHY IT MATTERS
Back pain is one of the most prevalent issues currently affecting adults, and we commonly believe that these issues occur because we are told we have “slipped disks” or our backs are “out of place,” “misaligned,” and “degenerated.” Truth be told, many of the things we think of as abnormal are actually normal.
- 68% of 40-year-olds who do not have back pain have signs of disk degeneration on imaging
- 50% of 40-year-olds who do not have back pain have signs of disk bulging on imaging
- 60% of back pain recovers in 1-3 weeks, 90% in 6-8 weeks, and 95% in 12 weeks
Most back pain recovers quickly. Your back is resilient, not fragile. Strengthen your low back with this modified plank, and check out our Healthy Is Low Back Relief challenge at your next Healthy Is Wellness coaching session for even more ideas.
Healthy Is Neck Relief
Ever try driving a car without moving your neck? The quick left-right check before turning is nearly impossible. Now try to also drive with a screaming headache on a busy road. This is what neck pain does: it stops us from moving and distracts our brains!
WHY IT MATTERS
Why is neck pain so common? Maybe because we have designed our lives to minimize how much we need to move our neck. Think about the longest duration you have used your computer, phone, or television and barely moved your neck. A long time! By frequently moving your neck you are avoiding pain by:
- Providing joints with nutrients and removing waste
- Increasing joint fluid that reduces friction
- Building stronger muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Improving tissue flexibility
- Avoiding vulnerable positions
- Reducing muscle tension (which also helps avoid headaches and jaw pain)
Try out this exercise to start relieving neck tension, and check out our Healthy Is Neck Relief challenge at your next Healthy Is Wellness coaching session.