Why These 4 Daily Habits Reduce Back Stiffness

Reduce Back Stiffness

Reduce Back Stiffness

I wanted to share with you my answer to a common question I recently was asked about stiffness in the lower back and what to do about it. This question comes from Rebecca, who’s a 54-year-old professional wedding photographer from Del Mar, California. Her job requires her to travel a lot for work and carry heavy bags that contain all of her equipment.  She also loves playing golf at least twice a week with her husband.

Rebecca asked, “Dr. Oscar, do you have any advice for someone like me, who isn’t in a lot of pain, but my back has just been feeling incredibly stiff when I wake up in the morning. I’m even embarrassed to admit, but I’ve noticed that bending over to put on my socks and shoes has become much more difficult. But most importantly, I’ve also noticed that completing 18 holes of golf is becoming more and more of a challenge. How can I reduce back stiffness? Do you have any advice?”

First, I want to clear up why you can feel stiff in the first place. A lot of people we see in the clinic think that stiffness is something you’re just supposed to have as you get older, but, stiffness isn’t always directly related to how old you are. Yes, as you get older, your joints and muscles might get stiff, especially if you don’t exercise regularly.

And it’s true that your joints can become less mobile as the lubricating fluid inside them decreases and the cartilage becomes thinner as you age. But there are other points to factor in, too, such as not drinking enough fluids, because dehydration can lead to stiff muscles. You see, muscles are active tissues, which means they’re the kind of tissues that requires the most water in the body.

Also, inactivity, such as excessive sitting, is another culprit. Leaving your muscles in one place for a prolonged period, such as when you’re asleep, sitting in a chair, driving long distances, or riding on an airplane can cause them to stiffen.

Here’s 4 Quick And Easy Tips To Add To Your Daily Routine That Will Help You Reduce Back Stiffness No Matter What Your Age.

1, As easy as it may sound, many people have a hard time creating a habit of it, which is drinking plenty of water. Did you know 70% of your muscles are made up of water? So it makes sense that you need to drink plenty of it to support your body and keep it hydrated. My tip is to make sure you have a water bottle by your side throughout the day, ready. That way, you have no excuse for not staying hydrated throughout the day. Yes, I know, many more bathroom runs throughout the day may be a pain, but at least it makes you get out of your deadly chair and do my second tip, which is,

2, “Walk”. But besides your restroom breaks, I recommend you walk for at least 10 minutes a day. Even better, 20 if you can. For all you office workers, next time you need to make a long phone call, why not do it on your cell and walk at the same time? Walking periodically throughout the day will help you achieve my third tip, which is,

3, Take a warm bath or take a dip in the hot tub if you have one. If you have a stressful day, the heat will ease your muscles almost immediately and will calm your mind, the perfect way to end your day and unwind before getting a good night’s sleep.

4, “Stretch”, daily and prior to your sporting activities of choice. Ten minutes in the morning when you first wake up and 10 minutes at night before bed, doing gentle stretches just before bed can help you get a much better night sleep as well. There’s no equipment needed, just you in the comfort of your own home.

I also recommend a dynamic stretching routine prior to golfing. Here is an example of a great Dynamic Warm-up routine. You don’t have to do all of the exercises, but at least pick a few that allow you to warm up properly and loosen your muscles up a bit. Frankly, it’s sad that a lot of people accept stiffness in their life as though it’s normal and nothing can be done about it.

General stiffness throughout your body and joints, such as your neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, and ankles, is a sign that something needs to be done. If you are experiencing stiffness in your back, which restricts your ability to move without pain, or it’s affecting your ability to perform certain activities, go to our webpage at level4pt.com/back-pain, and instantly download our back pain guide, which includes actionable tips we give to our clients at LEVEL4 every day.

So there you have it, 4 quick and easy tips you can add to your daily routine to help eliminate back stiffness for good.

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to help reduce back stiffness.

Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA

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