Back pain can be the result of trauma, such as a fall or a car accident. But most often back pain is the result of an Everyday Activity done incorrectly — activities as common as twisting to reach or lift an object, sitting at a computer in the same position for hours, bending over to vacuum, and carrying shopping bags. The good news is that back pain prevention isn’t all that difficult, often requiring just a few adjustments that will soon become second nature.
Here are six simple but effective back pain prevention tips.
One of the most important things you can do for back pain prevention is to get up and get moving. Why does exercise prevent back pain?
Muscles are meant to move. If you aren’t in good shape, you’re more likely to hurt your back and feel pain when you do even simple movements, such as lifting your child from his crib. Also, exercise helps keep your joints flexible. Sedentary lifestyle tends to weaken your musculature and hence everyday activities put lots of stress on your joints , especially on back.
Another reason exercise prevents back pain is that exercise helps you keep your weight down — being overweight, especially around your stomach, can put added strain on your back.
- Eat right.
If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body. Conversely, a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains will keep your digestive tract on track.
- Sleep sideways.
You don’t want to sleep flat on your back. The best position for sleeping is on your side. If you must sleep on your stomach, put a pillow under your lower abdomen to help take stress off your back. Having a supportive mattress and pillow for your head are vital as well. Getting enough, restful sleep is always an important part of maintaining good health, Also, if you exercise during the day, you sleep better at night.
- Maintain proper posture.
People sitting at their computer for seven or eight hours a day tend to have backache. People slouch over their computers and their telephones when they’re texting, and they don’t realize the damage they’re doing to their backs and the pain they could be causing.Be sure to work at an ergonomically correct workstation, both at the office and at home, and break up long periods in front of the computer with stretching exercises. If you practice good posture, you will maintain the natural curves of your back and help keep it strong.
- Reduce stress.
You probably don’t realize how much stress can impact your back health. Stress causes you to tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Any activity that helps you reduce stress will help prevent back pain. Stress reduction activities can include yoga, meditation, biofeedback, deep breathing, tai chi, and guided imagery.
- Quit smoking.
It’s well known that smoking raises your risk for heart disease and cancer, including lung and colon cancers, but most people don’t realize that smoking also can be a cause of persistent back pain. Research also shows smoking can make existing back pain worse. It’s not entirely clear how smoking affects back health, but one possibility is that it narrows blood vessels. Narrowed blood vessels result in less oxygen and nutrients reaching the spine and, in turn, it becomes more susceptible to injury and slower to heal.
In routine day to day works and schedules we can make small ergonomic changes, to avoid stress on your back. We all tend to sit for longer periods these days, at work, at home and in the car. Our backs are designed for spending the majority of our day on our feet being active, not stuck sitting for most of the day.
Why is sitting so bad for your back?
Backs like movement! It keeps the muscles and spine supple and conditioned, and ensures that excessive compression and poor posture doesn’t build up and cause issues with your spine.
Sitting puts your lower back into a flexed position with adds compression through the spine, tightens your hip flexor muscles and can tighten your back muscles unless your chair setup is perfect ergonomic wise. Sitting for long hours causes spasm of Hamstring muscle ,largest muscle in the body and that results in creating lot of stress on your lower back. to avoid this we should pay proper attention to the postures we should inculcate in our routine.
So what can you do to help your back if you are sitting a lot?
- Move regularly –every 20 minutes get up and move. Having a sit-stand desk should be considered, they aren’t as expensive as you might think and your back will love it.
- Ensure your work chair is ergonomic – it needs to be 3 way adjustable i.e. Height, Back rest tilts, Seat tilts.
- The tilts on the chair (both back rest and seat tilt) needs to be just right to be able to support the natural curve of your spine, so your back can rest comfortably into the chairs backrest.
- Ensure your desk is the right height and the keyboard/mouse are close to the edge of your desk, and the screen is at or just below eye level
- Avoid sitting in deep lounge chairs or sofa seats. If you have to sit on them, use a cushion to support your lower back curve. These types of chairs really flex your low back and can be an aggravation.
- Use a good computer chair if you are working on the computer or laptop, don’t use the lounge or sofa!
- If you are watching TV, why not lie down on the ground or on the lounge instead of always sitting.
- Consider buying a recliner chair, they are often better for your back.
In the Car:
- Use a cushion/rolled up towel or lumbar support in the arch of your low back for more support
- Have the seat up high and forward towards the wheel to help you sit up straighter
- If you are doing long drives, stop every hour and get out the car. Walk and stretch your back for a few minutes will help a lot.
The main theme is, get and keep moving. The above tips to help your back whilst sitting are great, but not sitting as much in the first place, is even better for your back.
You can reduce your risk for back pain with simple lifestyle changes. However, if you should experience back pain, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign of a more serious condition. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what you should do to find and treat the cause.