It’s hard to believe it’s been exactly 4 years since I created my 5-part series on “Weight training with spine disorders.” Believe it or not, much of the information I covered in that series I still do to this day. However, there are a few new things I’ve discovered that keep my back happy and healthy worth mentioning. It’s not enough to make a whole video series on, but a quick blog is a perfect format to deliver these small things I do in everyday life that have helped. But if you are interested in viewing the original series use the links at the end of this post.
Work While Standing
Sitting seems to be one of the worst things I can do for my back. After only 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, my low back is sore. What’s worse is if I have more than 2 or 3 bouts of sitting in a 24-hour period, the soreness will stick with me long after. For this reason, I do all my coaching at a “stand up desk” which is essentially a counter top in my home. It is about Xyphoid height and in any 6 to 8-hour work day I spend about 5 hours standing. I have a tall office chair I sit in if I need to give my legs a break, but I usually only sit for 5 minutes at a time. Additionally, I spend a lot of time walking around the house while I’m working. So, when I stand while working, it’s probably not much more than 30 to 40 minutes before I walk to the bathroom, or get a drink of water, or walk outside on the back porch, or what have you.
Two days a week, I have to be a normal adult and leave my home to work. I have a part time job as a CT Scan tech where I work for 10 hours each day. It’s business as usual though as far as I’m concerned. I can get any given scan done in less than 5 minutes so it doesn’t really matter if I stand or sit. However most of the time I stand. Walking around is part of the job as well, so I will frequently walk over to the Emergency Room to pick up a patient and push their gurney over to our scanner. So for all intents and purposes, I’m on my feet 70 to 80% of my waking hours.
Lay Down, Don’t Sit
For the other 15 to 20% of my waking hours I lay flat on my back. When watching television or a movie with the family, I lay down on a firm couch or a recliner with my head elevated just enough to see the TV or movie screen.
Luckily in the small town we live in, we can be anywhere in less than 10 minutes. The only real challenge is driving long distances. I have a 40-minute commute when I have to be an adult, but at least for the time being, those four 40 minute drives per week are not too much of an issue. Every now and then, a long drive out of town will bother my back for a few hours or a day. Fortunately, these days are few and far between. I would imagine the time I spend outside of those long drives has a lot to do with how well I deal with them.
Stretch Every Day for a Few Seconds at a Time.
You might think when I say I stretch every day that I have some sort of a routine I stay disciplined in doing. That is not the case. When I say I stretch every day, there is a stretch that I do for a few seconds, every day, while laying on my back.
The stretch that helps me the most is an adductor stretch where I simply place the bottoms of my feet together and let both knees fall out to the side. I try to relax and let my legs become dead weight. I can only hold this stretch for about 30 seconds to a minute at most and before it becomes too painful. Usually I need to use my arms to bring my knees back together as using my adductors once they have been so stretched is a bit painful. On any given day, I do this stretch 3 or maybe 4 times all for a total of about 1 to 3 minutes. So, it’s a small investment in time that really adds up over the course of a month or two.
A lot of folks ask me what I do that keeps me training despite my issues that typically require surgery. I’d say it’s just as much what I do outside of the gym as inside.
Weight Training with Spine Disorders Series