Low back pain is common in approximately 80% of the population and usually occurs when core and back muscles are weak, and hip flexor and hamstring muscles are tight. In my experience, low-back pain also occurs when we eat poorly, causing gut inflammation which leads to the abdominals being shut down. As we head into the season of indulgence, eating loads of sweets, breads and dairy products, you may experience more back pain than normal.
Here are 5 ways to reduce back pain this Holiday Season:
1. Always be mindful of drawing your belly button in when lifting heavy objects such groceries, luggage, a toddler or an infant car seat with an infant inside. This helps activate the deep abdominal muscles that support the low back and lumbar spine.
2. Watch how you stand. Try to balance your weight on both feet, being careful not to stand with all your weight on one side, as you tend to “hang” off your ligaments creating more low back instability.
3. If you are going to indulge, consider taking a digestive enzyme like gluten ease or digest gold enzyme with your meal. Remember, if you feel like your stomach is constantly bloated this Holiday season even with digestive enzymes, cut back on the sugar, gluten and dairy for a few days. The three together can be a trifecta of misery and once you feel the bloat, chances are your abdominals are no longer working to support your low back.
Digestive Enzymes that I like are:
4. Pay attention to the alcohol you drink. We talk a lot about eating clean grass-fed meat, or pasture raised chickens, but then we pair our meal with chemical laden beer and wine. Beer and Wine makers do not need to list the ingredients they use. Often, they have added chemicals, high fructose corn syrup, and are derived from pesticide sprayed fruits and grains. These additives can all lead to a much undesirable hangover and a sure-fire way to shut down the abdominal muscles. The best wines are organic and organic biodynamic wines. Here are a few I have tried and really noticed the difference.
5. Included here is a PDF of low back exercises to help you feel better if you start to experience low back pain. Stretching the low back before bed will work wonders on your nagging back ache. When you have had enough of the indulgence and start eating clean again, try strengthening the abdominals with the exercises included on this free PDF.