Whether we are seated or standing up, the back has almost no rest. The postures we adopt to sit or while doing our daily activities are not very often adapted for our back. This constant 'torture' of our back results in severe back pains sometimes. A back pain can appear gradually or with no particular warning when we are doing our daily activities. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey carried in 2001 revealed that around 13,500,000 people visited a physician’s office for back pain in the US in 2001.
The spine is a complex structure. There is not just one type of back pain. They are caused by either worn out bones, muscles sprains or nerves.
Tips to prevent back pains:
- You spend around 25 years of our life in bed. So it is better you have a good posture during sleep. The best position is the fetal position. To reduce pressure on the back bones it is also adviced to place a pillow between the knees.
- The mattress is as important as the sleeping posture. Avoid too soft or too hard mattresses because they will not preserve the contours of the body well. If your mattress has depressions in it, it is high time you change it.
Control your weight. Being overweight or obese exerts more pressure on your back because of the excess weight of your belly in front.
- Adopt a good posture when watching TV or sitting at your workstation.
- Instead of bending to pick up things, bend your hips and knees or use your legs muscles. This will give some rest to your back muscles.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects alone. Find friends to help you or use apparatus designed for the lifting of heavy objects. If you are alone, place the object as close as possible to your body. The weight will be less harmful to your back.
- Push heavy objects rather than pulling them.
Exercise to make your back muscles less stiff. Avoid exercises like sit ups which place a strain on your back. Instead do crunches to tone your ab muscles.
- Before exercising or doing any kind of physical jobs, warm up for about 15 minutes. If your muscles have not been stretched and relaxed properly, strains or muscle tears are possible.
- Use shoes with flat or low heels when moving about. High heeled shoes can be reserved for special occasions.
- Carrying heavy bags in the hands exerts much pressure on the back. Choose back bags. They are healthier for your back.
- Stretch from time to time when working for long hours seated at your desks or when you go for long drives.
- Always buy your chair and tables carefully. There are many so called ergonomic devices which in many cases are not suited for everyone. For example choose adjustable chairs and tables. This will allow you to adopt your posture for a particular activity more easily.
Drink milk and eat dairy products to build strong bones. Remember that calcium is best absorbed in the presence of vitamin D. So take products which are enhanced with vitamins D.
- Know your limits. If you know you will not be able perform a work or a physical activity which is related to the back, then refuse.
- When standing or walking always keep a good posture. Keep your ears, shoulders and hips in a straight line, with your head up and your stomach pulled in.
- Visit your doctor at least once a year for a full check up.
- Sleep and rest well. If you are tired, then the whole organism is in the same state. This will exert pressure on your spine.
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