With a fast paced and stressed work driven culture, people frequently ignore their body’s signals to slow down and take care of themselves. Back problems affect a large percentage of people all over the world. Chances are if you have a back, you’ve had a back problem. Read on to discover what exactly is hindering your back
healthand what you can do to resolve your problems. Please note that all concerns should be addressed to your physician.
The major causes of back pain are poor posture, lack of exercise, and overeating at the dinner table. Using your back improperly doesn’t help, poor posture strains the lower back thus making it more susceptible to injury. Some conditions contributing to poor back health are: a sway back (or an increased lumbar curve) resulting from weak muscles, weak and flabby abdominal muscles (or pot bellies) that deprive your back of its greatest support. Also, being overweight adds strain to your muscles and joints.
How can being stressed out affect the health of my back?
Tension results from stress. Everyday life plays an important role in your general health and well being, including that of your back. Money troubles, family pressure, and lack of sleep can actually cause back pain! If you are able to work to improve upon and accept the stress factors in your life, you will better your chance at combatting back pain, improving your chances for a better life and a healthy back.
What exactly is a strain or sprain?
A strain or sprain occurs when the back’s muscles or ligaments are stretched beyond their capacity or even torn. Back sprains typically are the result of doing common tasks improperly, including bending, lifting, standing, or sitting. A twist or turn in the opposite direction may sprain or strain your back. Frequently, injuries like this occur in car accidents, sports injuries, or even slipping on your icy sidewalk during winter. Fortunately, back sprains can completely heal if treated properly. To prevent such damage, practice proper back mechanics.
What is a slipped disc?
A slipped or ruptured disc may cause acute pain and in some cases disability. A slipped disc occurs when the semi-solid centre of the disc slips, shifts, or bulges and presses on nerve endings in its tough casing. If a disc actually ruptures, cracks, splits, or shatters through the casing and tweaks the spinal nerve, a “pinched nerve” will occur. This type of injury may result in pain that radiates down the back of the thigh and leg, also called Sciatica. If the actual pressure or pinching of the spinal nerve persists, nerve damage can occur and cause numbness or muscle weakness in the leg. Most people with a slipped disc benefit from non-surgical treatment while a small percent find remedy from a doctor administrated injection to dissolve the disc material. Others have no choice but to opt for surgery.
What is spondylosis?
The medical name for the narrowing of the spine is spondylosis, which is frequently associated with back pain. A stress fracture in a specific vertebrae in the spinal column may also cause back pain. This commonly occurs in the backs of athletes. The term spondylolysis refers to the condition that usually affects either the fourth or fifth vertebrae in the lower back. If the fracture weakens the vertebrae too much, it may start to slip out of place. The slippage has been medically termed spondylolisthesis. As people age, spondylolisthesis is more commonly seen as degenerative disk disease, where one vertebra slips on another, and the support structure of the entire spine is compromised. If the vertebra slips too much then the bones may begin to press on the nerve, in this case surgery may be necessary.
What are some other causes of back problems?
Some other causes of back problems in individuals may include any condition that affects nearby areas of the back (like weak abdominal muscles) and cause backache. A small number of people have rare birth defects or curvature of the spine, but others people, like men with prostrate trouble, are usually more common.
What can I do to protect my back from injury? Weather at work, at the gym, or playing with the kids there are a number of preventative measures you can take to protect your back from injury.
Even improving your posture when standing can prevent back injury. Stand with one foot up (on a phone book) and change positions often to maintain normal back curves. Try not to stand in one position for too long. Walk with good posture, keep your head high, chin tucked in, pelvis forward, toes straight ahead, wear comfortable shoes. Do not bend forward with straight legs or walk with poor posture.
When lifting, bend with you knees, not with you back. Lift with your legs and hold objects close to your body, lifting objects only chest high. If the load is heavy get help and plan your route in order to prevent sudden weight shifts. Be sure of your footing and balance and do not bend over with straight legs or twist when lifting. Try to avoid lifting above shoulder level as these positions may cause injury.
With the number of hours people spend at work or at home infront of a computer, be sure to follow these guidelines: sit in chairs low enough to place both feet on the floor with kneed higher than your hips. You may put your feet up on a small stool if it is easier. Sit firmly against the back of the chair and try not to slump or sit in a chair that is too high or too far from your work. Avoid leaning forward and arching your back.
We drive a lot, for the amount of time you spend behind the wheel, posture and position are essential. Be sure to move the car seat forward to keep your knees bent and higher than your hips. Sit straight; drive with both hands on the wheel. A small cushion behind your back may also be helpful. Do not sit too far from the wheel and stretching for the pedals. Stretching like this will increase lower back curve and strain.
A person spends almost as much time asleep as they do awake. Consider the following: select a firm mattress and sleep on your side with knees bent (fetal position) or on your back with a pillow under your knees. Don’t sleep or lounge on soft, sagging, no-support mattresses or cushions (even if it means getting rid of that old couch from your college dorm). The result will be back strain, especially when sleeping on your stomach.
It is also important to exercise and eat properly to build strong and flexible supporting muscles, just because your arms and legs are strong doesn’t mean your back is. Before you start any exercise or therapy program consult your physician, especially if you are recovering from a back problem. This way the correct exercises may be administered to cater to your individual needs.
Whether you are recovering from a back injury or not, follow this advice:
– don’t exercise if you are experiencing pain
– don’t overdue it at first, start slowly
– consult your doctor if you are unsure
– stop exercising any time you experience pain
Try these rest positions to relieve your back by moving the pelvis and straightening the spine:
1. Stand in a comfortable position and place hands on the low back area – slowly bend backwards, comfortably. Hold for thirty seconds to one minute.
2. Lean forward in your chair and lower your head to your knees for two to five minutes.
3. Lie on your back, flat on the floor and place your legs on a chair. A pillow under your legs will make you more comfortable. For maximum relief, this position should be held for fifteen minutes.
People today are living longer and fuller lives. It is important to consider the health of your body today rather than waiting until fifty years down the road. There is no way to tell which “twist or turn” down this road will do you in for a back injury, taking you away from the things that you love. Although you may not be able to predict the future, you do have some control over what you do now. A healthy and strong back not only looks great but also helps you avoid injurt or speed your recovery time when injury does occur. Take care of your back today and prevent what may be in store for you tomorrow!
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