Due to long hours in a seated position, often straining forward or at a twisted angle, it’s likely you will suffer lower back pain at some point in your nail career. Whether the result of poor posture or injury, back pain can become a chronic problem when ignored. To combat its effects, make it a habit to stretch throughout the day. This will remove pressure on your spine and help relieve tired achy muscles that cause pain in the lower back.
Depending on the severity, back pain can be the dull ache of tired muscles to the excruciating pain of a herniated disk. Some sufferers have a perpetual problem; others have a flare-up after increased activity or prolonged strain. Each person’s pain is unique, but you’ll know it if you have it. You’ll find yourself rubbing the lower back, arching, tucking or twisting your back throughout the day, or popping meds for relief. Don’t ignore your body’s warning.
While the cause of lower back pain can vary, a nail tech’s pain is at least partially due to repeated hours of sitting at and bending over a desk. Poor lumbar support, crossing the legs, twisting the body, and incorrect seat height exacerbate the condition. In addition to muscle strain, the pain may be a result of a misaligned vertebrae.
The bones in the base of spine are designed to bear a tremendous amount of pressure. It’s possible — likely, in fact — that one of the bones is misaligned, which means it doesn’t sit correctly against the bones above or below it. When this happens, the disk between the bones is squeezed, and the nerves that exit the vertebrae at the point of the misalignment are pinched, or restricted. This could cause the muscles to spasm to try to protect the area.
Techs can substantially reduce lower back pain in two ways: stretching and strengthening. Muscles that have been strained all day while bending over a nail desk need relief from the strain. Incorporate counter moves into your stretches; for example, arching the back since it’s been bending forward all day. In addition, by developing strong core muscles a tech will increase support of the lower back. Take 10 minutes to stretch and do core exercises before and after work. Strengthen the core through sit-ups or plank holds.
LOWER BACK/HIP STRETCH
Sit up straight on a chair with no arms. Cross the right leg over the left and drape the left arm over the right leg so the elbow is on the outside of the right knee. Without rounding your shoulders, twist to the side to stretch your spine and lower back muscles. Hold for a count of 10.
Repeat with the left leg. Repeat three to five times.
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can mask the problem and provide relief, but for recurring or chronic back problems, techs should consider a reputable chiropractor. Each chiropractor has a different philosophy of care, so interview prospective providers to ensure you’ve chosen one who will correct the misalignments rather than treat the symptoms of pain through electric stimulation or ultrasound. Surgery is considered a last resort; secondary problems can occur, leaving you worse off than you started.
This article is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Photography by Kimberly Pham
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.