10 tips to prevent back pain

April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Back pain and it’s referred effects (i.e. pain down the legs, hip pain and burning feet) affects as many as 80% of adults at some point in their lives. In my Body Stress Release practice it’s the most frequent client complaint, followed closely by headaches and upper back tension. With the ever increasing pace of the corporate world more and more people are starting to suffer the effects of hunching over laptops and mobile devices. With repetitive physical stressors, as well as emotional triggers; over time our body’s coping mechanisms are over-ridden and we start feeling the effects of stress.

Body Stress Release will help to put you back on track and can assist you with managing long term muscular stress, injuries and back problems – but once you’ve been set back on the path to recovery, there are a few simple tips you can keep in mind to avoid re-stressing the body.

Take note of these simple points to keep your back strong:

Strengthen Your Support System:

Keep your back strong and limber by exercising it at least two or three times a week. Walk, swim,stretch and do other low-impact exercises. Add some gentle abdominal exercises that strengthen the core and avoid high impact exercise (like squash or running). If you feel any back pain while exercising, stop what you’re doing! Pain is the body’s early warning sign, it should never be ignored!

Sit Up Straight:

Don’t hunch over a laptop – it puts a massive strain on the back

Raise your chair until you’re at a comfortable distance from your desk without having to reach or slouch. Flatten your back and buttocks against the chair, keeping your knees slightly higher than your hips and your shoulders back. Choose a chair with good lumbar support, and sit in the same good posture; whether you’re working at your desk, watching TV, or driving in your car. If you have to sit for long periods of time, get up every 30 minutes or so to stretch your back. DO NOT hunch forward over a laptop … it wreaks havoc with your back and often results in symptoms of locked shoulders and upper back and neck stress.

Lighten Your Load

Repetitively carrying a heavy bag will create muscular stress and misalignment

When you leave your house in the morning only carry what you need. Remove all non-essential items from your hand bag, lap-top bag or briefcase. If possible carry a back-pack bag with weight distributed across both shoulders, or better still, invest in a pull-along lap-top bag. Carrying ill-distributed weight or heavily loaded bags puts a lot of stress on the neck, shoulders and upper back. Your body tries to compensate for the load and you’ll feel burning between the shoulder blades as your upper back locks up.

Avoid Banana Spine

Dont round the curve of the back when sitting

Sitting on the couch with your legs up on the coffee table, bending to touch toes, repetitive sit up excercises, leg raisers or leaning forward for long periods of time reverses the natural lumbar curve and puts EXTREME pressure on the lower lumbar discs. Maintain a healthy back by practicing good posture. When standing hold your stomach in, your head straight, and your shoulders and hips in line. Keep your knees slightly bent and your weight balanced evenly on your feet. Remember the words your mother drummed into you “Stand and sit up straight”!

Take a Load Off

Always bend your knees and lift using your legs, not your back

To avoid lower-back pain later, use the right approach to lifting. Kneel down and get close to the item you want to pick up. Tighten your ‘abs’ so they support and protect your back. Then lift with your legs, not your back, and avoid twisting. Keep the object close to your body while you’re carrying it. NEVER try to lift anything that you know is too heavy for you. The only thing you’ll accomplish is hurting your back!

Sleep Easy

Sleep on your back or your side, with a pillow between the knees

Get rid of your soft featherbed or waterbed and replace it with a firm mattress that offers plenty of back support.  Avoid sleeping on your stomach – this puts undue pressure on your neck and can cause tension. Either lie comfortably on your back or lie on your side to take the pressure off your back. Pop a cushion between your knees to reduce the pressure even more.
Make sure that your head is properly supported with a pillow, in line with your shoulders, without being raised too high or dropping down too low.

Lose Weight
If you’re several pounds heavier than your doctor recommends for your height, losing weight is an important part of pain prevention. Combine exercise with a healthy diet to get down to a lighter frame that will be easier for your back to support.

Bone Up
While you’re changing the way you eat to lose weight, add in nutrients that build bones and prevent fractures. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous from a supplement and foods.

Ditch the Stilettos
Ladies, high heels might make your legs look sleek, but they’re murder on your back. Walking around on wobbly heels all day can destabilize your posture and leave you with some serious back pain. Leave the towering heels in your closet for special occasions and instead wear low, comfortable shoes that support and cushion each step.

Stress Less
The pace of life has become unrelenting – humans were not designed to sit hunched in front of laptops answering emails all day! Hunching over compresses the chest cavity, and we get into the habit of shallow stressed breathing.  Try and take time out each day to stretch and walk and make sure you break your working routine with frequent short breaks.

INTERESTING CASE STUDIES
Sciatica during pregnancy

Restless Legs

Lower back pain and narrowed intervertebral discs

Pain and weakness down the legs

Calf pain and back pain

I’d love to hear your stories and I’d welcome your feedback.

www.unlockingtension.co.za / sarah@unlockingtension.co.za

 

1 response to 10 tips to prevent back pain

  1. Very interesting post thanks – made me sit a little taller in my chair just reading it hehehe!!

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