How to Help Lower Back Pain – 5 habits to change your life

How to Help Lower Back Pain – 5 habits to change your life

Back pain for most of us freelancers is because unfortunately, to be able to have enough money to eat, we have to sit at our desks. That means long hours on our keesters in a position that puts our whole body at jeopardy (What is sciatic pain for 200, Alex?) I’m going to run through through five small habits and changes to your routine that will significantly improve your quality of life and wellbeing. Keep reading to find out how to help lower back pain in you daily routine.

How to Help Lower Back Pain

Get up, stand up

I might sound like a broken record with my article Sit-Stand Desk Top Workstation – Budget-Friendly Way to a Healthier You, but moving around is what our bodies were made to do. In that article I stated that to prevent, and help back pain, you should sit as much as you stand (30 minutes sitting, 30 minutes standing). That’s not a joke or a goal. It’s something all humans should aim for.

To track the 30 minutes, I use the Online Stopwatch. It’s straightforward to use. Click on countdown, put in the time, push set, and then go. When you finish, it automatically goes back to that time, so it’s perfect for 30/30 standing sitting routines.

Sit and Stand Properly

Ok, so we have to sit to work because standing for 8 hours is just as bad, if not worse for you than sitting. Obviously, like everything in life, there needs to be a happy medium. We found that happy medium in tip one with the 30/30 rule (sometimes 20/40) but even 30 minutes can be brutal if we’re sitting or standing wrong. This graphic is from the article I mentioned above, but it really succinctly explains everything you need to know.

As you can see the head, neck, back, and hips are all stacked on top of each other. The one below supporting the one above. There’s no C-curve in the back or rear-end stuck way out. Just a relaxed, natural position.

If you’re not sure of what that looks or feels like, then there’s a little gadget that could help you out. It’s called the Posture Corrector Cushion and my full review will be coming out in the next few days so remember to check back. What it does is it forces your head, neck, and back to all be appropriately aligned over your hips just like in the photo. This reduces tension, back spasms and a whole myriad of other problems. If you have back pain, the 40 USD could be a lifesaver.

5 Minute Stretches

Every morning, after my meditation, as I’m waiting for my coffee to brew, I do a few stretches. After 8 hours lying in bed stretching really gets everything going. It only takes 5 minutes to feel better and get ready for the day. Also, during my day when I take breaks, I repeat these stretches. I’ve always leaned towards prevention instead of curing when it comes to back pain. But if you need to reduce your pain, these will definitely help.

You only get one body, don’t mess it up!

These guys do a great job explaining each stretch in detail, and when you’re ready, you should check them out at Lumo Lift. These exercises are perfect to focus on your core and stretch out your spine muscles that become more and more constricted as we sit and put pressure on them all day.

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This guy’s got the right idea! Down dog!

Strengthen your Core Muscles

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It does kind of make sense.

Your core, or six-pack (possibly keg) or as the Spaniards call it (your chocolate bar) is what makes the rest of your body work. If you’ve ever heard of Pilates, it is basically the idea that every movement your body makes should come from the core. Whether it’s walking up stairs, getting out of your chair, cooking, it doesn’t matter. Everything starts and ends with your core muscles.

Your abdominal muscles, compared to the rest of your body, are actually really special. They’re the only external muscles where it’s recommended to work out almost every day. If you think about, your abs are designed to hold you upright throughout your whole life. They don’t get any vacation days (sound familiar?).

Strengthening them strengthens your whole body. There’s a guy on YouTube that I love. His name’s Jeff, and he’s a no-nonsense certified physical therapist. He’s trained elite athletes the world around, and he knows what he’s talking about.  I’ve created my workout around things that he’s explained in his videos. He’s awesome! (if you read the comments on this video you’ll see I’m not the only one who thinks that). It’s 8 and a half minutes, but if it can help your back pain, I think it’s worth it.

So obviously, if you’ve watched the video some of those exercises are quite advanced, but the science behind them is more than sound. Turn off you hip-flexors (the muscle between your thigh and abs) to be able to target the abs. Pick and choose which of those exercises you like and give them a shot. If you go to the gym or have a gym at home, these could be a great addition to your routine.

Don’t Stop Moving!

My last little piece of advice here, which might be able to go without saying, but it’s probably the most important one on the list, is that when you stop moving, it’s always much harder to get started again. An object in motion and all that. Going from a standing position at work to going for a walk is so much easier than starting sitting down. Going straight from the gym to store or vice-versa is easier than doing them separately.

Whatever your routine is, and I hope you have one, make life easier on yourself and put your activities together so you can use your “momentum” to complete them. Better that than never doing them at all.

Slow and Steady

All accidents and injuries aside, there is no excuse to live with back pain. Especially with us freelancers who have complete and utter control over our schedules. Ok, you might have children and spouses which need your time, but you’re telling me you can’t find 10-15 minutes for a couple quick stretches or exercises to vastly improve your life?

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He wins everytime

One final note: If you’ve never heard of habit stacking it’s an interesting concept. It’s the idea that you connect a small habit (less than 5 minutes) to something you do every day (make coffee, brush your teeth, shower, walk to the kitchen) anything that you do every single day without fail. That way, the thing you do every day becomes your trigger. For example, I  make coffee every day. While I’m making coffee, I do some quick stretches to get my blood flowing. I’ve connected those two activities, so I never forget them. Now without my stretches in the morning, I feel like an old man without a walker. It’s a very simple but potent tool. If you’re interested in learning more, head over to to check it out.

Is there anything you do that helps with your back pain? Please share in the comments section below.






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