Keeping Your Back Healthy
Back pain is the second most-common reason people see their doctor. Though most back pain will get better, it can be enormously depressing, making recovery more of a challenge. In addition, once you have injured your back, you are more prone to future injury.
In regards to your back, there simply are no easy solutions available. Good back strength is vital to many components of our daily existence. Watching how you use your back and strengthening it with exercise are the best keys to prevention of back injury, and much less pain plus a quicker recovery should a mishap occur. Flexible muscles make injuries less likely. Even if you do not now, nor ever had a back program, it is a good idea to use exercise to strengthen it starting yesterday! Exercise distributes oxygen and nutrients to discs and joints in the back and keeps the spine in place to protect against the assault of repetitive stress.
One more essential fact – get your weight under control. Every extra pound burdens the spine.
A sitting tip to put into daily practice:
– When sitting, sit in a chair with lower-back support and sit upright. Imagine there is a cord from the top of your head to the ceiling lifting the torso into a tall, relaxed pose.
– Sit up straight as if your back were against a flat wall and lengthen your upper body.
– Sit like this as long as you can and whenever you feel yourself slouching.
There are a few things you can do beyond exercise to help your back – whether it is currently healthy or hurting:
When sleeping, if you rest on your side with a pillow between your legs there is less stress on spinal discs than when you sleep on your back.
Always move close to objects before you lift them. Lift with your legs, not your back. Never lift anything quickly and especially do not twist and lift something quickly!
With minor back pain, do not stay in bed for more than a day or two. Get on your feet and move. Inactivity leads to loss of muscle strength.
Ice and aspirin or ibuprofen is some of the best pain-aids for your back. Heat may feel good, but ice interrupts the pain-spasm cycle and slows nerve impulses.
Scientific evidence states that back belts do not protect the back against injury. In fact, there is evidence showing that workers believe they can lift more weight when they are wearing a belt. Rather than solely relying on belts to protect the back, redesign the work environment and work tasks to reduce any possible strain and/or hazard to your back.
In a few cases, back pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem. If your back pain does not ease in a few days and causes major disruption in your life, you should see a doctor.
Experts say it is most important to see a doctor if any of the following apply to you:
A. You experience a loss of bowel or bladder control.
B. You have fevers, sweats or chills along with back pain.
C. You have redness or swelling on your spine or back.
D. You feel weakness in your legs or pain travels into your leg below the knee.
The back pain came from an intense blow or fall.
You are in crippling pain that confines you to bed for more than a week.
In summary, learn to practice daily habits to keep your back in better health i.e., sitting up straight, lifting with your knees, etc. Second, exercise your back. Back exercise does NOT have to be a drawn out, strenuous ordeal. I offer a fantastic back training manual that is so gentle you will not even feel as if you are exercising. There is no equipment needed and it does not take long at all. A few dedicated minutes a day is all you’ll need. If that does not interest you, consult with a physical therapist for an exercise routine but by all means, do something for your back health before you have serious back trouble If you are already in pain, work toward the day you will be pain free – and stay that way.