Back pain is a very common condition which will usually clear up in a few weeks or months, however it can be a chronic condition, and no matter how long you have it, it will leave its mark due to the intense pain it can cause. When you are suffering from back pain, you can find it difficult to do the everyday tasks you usually have trouble with, from picking up your kids to sitting at your desk, so it can be a major problem.
Although it is notoriously difficult to find out the exact cause of most back pain, the good news is that it has been possible to identify a number of things that can help to keep back pain at bay. Here are some of the things you can do to prevent back pain:
Maintain a Strong back
Keeping your back strong via exercise is one of the best things you can to prevent back pain from taking hold. It is also good for anyone who already has back pain and wants to relieve the symptoms.
Ideally, you should partake in a low-impact exercise that will strengthen the back without straining it or causing any sudden movements in the area. Yoga and Pilates are particularly good as they help to increase back flexibility and build muscle strength, but activities like running, swimming and cycling are also good options, and you should choose a healthy activity that you enjoy, so that you will stick to your regime and keep your back, and the rest of your body, in good shape.
Regular stretching plays a vital role in strengthening your back, and you should always stretch before you partake in any activity, to warm your back muscles up and minimize the chances of an injury. Ideally, you should even stretch before you do household chores and gardening because these are common causes of back strain.
One of the main causes of chronic back pain is improper lifting. If you lift heavy objects in the wrong way, you can train and tear your back muscles, and give yourself weeks., months or even years of pain. Fortunately, this is easily avoided by employing proper lifting technique. Here’s how:
- Before you lift anything, you should plan the lift, working out if you can use any lifting aids, checking where the object is going to be placed and working out if you need more people to help you.
- Next, you should stand with your feet shoulder apart and one leg slightly in front of the other. This will make you more stable as you lift.
- Get hold of the load at hip level and keep it as close to the body as possible. Bend with the knees keeping the back as straight as possible.
- When setting the load down, move slowly bending the knees to avid back strain.
Sitting in the wrong position can cause or exacerbate back injuries, which is why it is important to sit with your back straight and shoulders back. You should also relax your elbows and avoid crossing your legs as doing so can weaken your core muscles and stiffen the muscles of the lower back.
If you are sitting in a swivel chair, you should never use your waist to turn the seat, and should instead use your whole body to move the chair.
Wherever you are sitting, if it is at all possible, you should aim to get up and stretch every 20 minutes. If that’s not possible. Stretching once every hour is a good compromise.
Driving can be really tough on the back, particularly if you drive for long periods of time. Thankfully, there are lots of things you can do to ease the strain of driving on the back:
- If possible, you should always sit with your butt pressed against the back of the seat and so that your leg is bent slightly when your foot hits the pedal
- Always adjust your seat so that the distance between the end of your seat and the back of your knees is 1.5-2 inches wide
- Adjust the backrest so that you can get hold of the steering wheel when your arms are bent
- Always keep your shoulders pressed back against the backrest, especially when you are turning the wheel
- If you start to experience lower back pain when driving, roll up a towel and place it behind your lower back for extra support.
- Align the headrest with the top of your head and try to maintain contact between your head and the rest as much as possible.
- Stop your vehicle in a safe place, get up and walk as much as you can to avoid your back getting locked into one position.
Another thing that can lead to back pain is a poor choice of mattress. If you want to get a goodnight’s sleep and wake up without any aches and pain in the neck or back regions, you really need to invest in a good mattress and change old mattresses when they start to get worn. If you aren’t sure about the best mattresses for back pain, and the ideal mattress quality, you can learn from learn from Mattress-Guides.net.
It is also a good idea to choose the right pillows to support your neck and spine because poor neck and spine position can lead to all kinds of back problems, not to mention sleepless nights spent tossing and turning. Memory foam pillows seem to be very good at supporting the neck and back, but you might need to try a few different kinds of pillows to find the ones that really work for you.
Furthermore, sleeping on your side with your knees drawn slightly towards your chest is thought to be the best position to sleep in if you want to prevent a bad back. If you must sleep on your back, try placing a pillow between your knees and one under your lower back for great spinal support.
Computers may have completely transformed the way we live our lives, but they are also a leading cause of back and neck strain, which isn’t surprising when you consider how much time the average person spends in front of them. If you spend a lot of time working or playing at your computer, here are some things you can do to prevent back injuries:
- Position your keyboard straight in front of you. If your keyboard veers to the left or right, it can promote bad posture and that is a leading cause of back pain.
- Ensure that your elbow is always level with the spacebar of your computer to make sure you are typing in the right position.
- Make sure that your keyboard is placed at a height which allows to keep your wrists straight as you type. You will significantly reduce your wrist of back and repetitive strain injuries by doing so.
- When looking between your monitor and documents on your desk, turn your whole body rather than just your neck to prevent injuries.
- Consider using a document holder, which will prop up your documents next to the screen, at the same height, so you do not have to twist and turn at all to do your work.
- Get up and do some stretches every 20 minutes, or take a walk around the office to give your body a break from all the sitting.
If you are overweight, shedding those excess pounds could help you to prevent back pain by taking some of the pressure off your back muscles. ~Losing weight is particularly good for preventing lower back pain, which is one of the most common kinds of back pain. If you are not overweight, do your best to make sure it stays that way by eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise.
Studies have shown that, if you smoke, it is more difficult for nutrient-carrying blood to get to the spine, which could cause inflammation and worse in the area. So, if you are a smoker, do your best to kick the habit, your back and your wallet will thank you, and you’ll probably increase your life expectancy to boot!
What if You’re Already Experiencing Back Pain?
If you are already experiencing back pain, the best thing you can do is visit a doctor who will be able to rule out any serious issues, such as tumours as the cause of your pain. They will also be able to advise you which of the above measures you can safely implement to manage your pain, and if necessary they will be able to prescribe you painkillers or treatments.
Many sufferers of back pain find that a good deep tissue massage really helps them to manage their symptoms, but if you are going to go down this route, you must make absolutely sure that your massage therapist is trained to deal with back pain, and you should let them know you are suffering before they work on you!