What did I do to my Back?

Back pain

Whether you spent your whole summer hiking in the U.P., or you’ve never put your feet into athletic shoes, Western’s campus requires a surprising amount of walking to navigate. Add in a heavy backpack full of books, and you might experience some back pain as you trek up the hills to class. Try a few of these tips to reduce your pain.

  1. Stretch. Remember gym class? Google “Mayo Clinic back stretches” and take a few minutes to pay attention to your back muscles.
  2. Strengthen core muscles.  When you’re thinking about your back you’re not thinking about your front. One of the best ways to deal with back pain is to strengthen your abdominal muscles to help support your back. Add a few extra crunches to your workout routine.
  3. Be aware of how to carry your books. While the cross-body satchel is fashionable, it’s not the best for carrying heavy loads. Backpacks made with padded shoulder straps or a padded back are nicer to your back, neck, and shoulders. Others have straps that go around your waist so you’re supporting the weight on your pelvis.
  4. Be mindful of your posture. It might feel good to slouch down in a desk chair or type emails while leaning against a couch leg, but our back muscles don’t appreciate it. When you find your mind wander in class or get to a commercial break during Grey’s Anatomy, bring your attention back to your posture and realign your spine.
  5. Seek medical attention at Sindecuse Health Center. If you’re struggling with back pain or an injury, there are great resources at Sindecuse Health Center. Book an appointment with the WMU Sports Medicine Clinic to be evaluated by a physical therapist or check out Health Promotion and Education to schedule a massage.