Are you one of those who have got a bad back or has ever thrown your back out? How many of you suffer from a chronic low back pain? Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain, the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work.
Years of bending, sitting, stooping, lifting takes its toll on your lower back. The back problems may result from traumatic incident, be it a fall, car accident, sports injury but also as people age muscle elasticity, its tone, bone strength tend to decrease.
It is certainly easier to prevent back problems rather than treating them.
So how to take care of your back?
- One of the factors that help to maintain a healthy back is PROPER POSTURE. Till this day I can hear my grandma’s voice: “sit nice and tall; straighten up; no slouching, you don’t want look like a hunchback from Notre Dame ” ;-)
To some people proper posture comes naturally, to others it needs to be cultivated, frequently requiring professional guidance. Proper posture should be observed as much as possible during standing, sitting, lying down.
- Another important part of taking care of your back is to maintain PROPER GAIT, which refers to a way of walking/running that displays rhythm, symmetry but also even leg and foot alignment.
- Another essential factor is PROPER BODY MECHANICS during daily activities. Knowing how to pick up and carry heavy objects properly, be mindful not to twist the trunk while reaching for something but also not to hold the back in a fixed position for too long.
- Weight control is also a very important component of a healthy back. Excess weight can magnify stress on the lower back.
- Endurance, particularly in back muscles, is absolutely vital. Endurance is the ability of the muscles to be called upon to contract over extended period of time. As simple of an activity as holding the body upright requires the muscles to contract for over extended periods. The less of muscular endurance, the quicker muscle tires. Thus forcing other parts of the body to take over and do the job that doesn’t belong to them.
- Flexibility is more important than you realize. If your tendons, ligaments, muscles aren’t flexible enough, they are more susceptible to injury when called upon to contract during daily activities.
- Strength is needed to keep your back stable, moving, and well aligned. The weaker you are, the less physical activities you can perform and when you actually do perform them, there’s more risk involved. Most importantly, if one area of your body is weak, another one will compensate for that part.
Regardless of how much you take care of your back, occasional stiffness and tightness are inevitable, particularly as you grow older. Everyday life and its demands can wreck havoc on your body. The quickest way to alleviate occasional back discomfort is through both stretching and massage, which increases blood flow to the troubled areas. If you experience more serious back problems (acute pain, numbness, weakness in the legs) seek immediate professional attention.