I remember my first low back injury as my gateway into a lifestyle of yoga and regular care for my back, neck and shoulders. We were moving into a new house 20 years ago and I went to pick up a box and next thing I knew I was in agonizing pain and immobile. My doctor sent me to physical therapy. It was from my physical therapy experience I realized I had to keep my back, hips, legs stretched on a daily basis so I began attending yoga classes. It became such an integral part of my life I eventually went through training to teach yoga and have since taught thousands of classes over the years.
As women reach the mid-life point it becomes more and more important to ensure we are taking care of our back, neck and shoulders. Here are some tips backed by many experts in chiropractic and orthopedic medicine but remember you should always check with your own health practitioner before starting any new physical activity.
- 1. A daily gentle stretching of the entire body along with some rhythmic breathing goes along way in ensuring flexibility. Allow a certified yoga teacher or a physical therapist to demonstrate the safest stretches you can do at home on your own.
- Find a gentle yoga class and go at least once/week. It is helpful to have a registered yoga teacher assist you in person with your positioning and provide guidance on how to breathe to maximize the positive effects of the postures.
- Try some gentle online yoga classes. You can download them to your device and practice at your office or home anytime! Search for classes that cater to low back care or neck and shoulders.
- If you do tweak your back or neck and are in pain grab an ice pack. Getting inflammation down right away is key. You might look into the benefits of turmeric for inflammation as a natural option or you can take an over the counter anti-inflammatory if you know you are in pain. Check with your health care practitioner.
- If in pain, make an appointment to see either your chiropractor or your orthopedic doctor. Try to relax as much as possible because many times we tighten up around the area that has been injured which causes further pain and sometimes muscle spasm.
- A topical analgesic that contains a wintergreen essential oil and/or white fir can help with muscle pain.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water on a daily basis helps keep the discs between the vertebrae soft and supple.
- Watch your posture. Taking yoga classes will likely help with this automatically. Being more conscious of how you hold your head, shoulders and pelvis when you sit, stand and walk can be so important. Check out my friend Lisa Wolf's Posture Program
- Express gratitude to and for your body as it is. Your body has been carrying you around for over 40 years! Every day make it a practice to give thanks and treat it as the treasure it is.