Oh, My Back!

Have you ever experienced back pain?
Do you know why you experienced back pain?
Could it have been prevented?

If asked, most people would answer that they have experienced back pain at some point in their lives, with some saying the discomfort was mild and others saying that the problem was severe.
Back pain can occur for several reasons and at different stages during our lives.
To help with back pain, we need to look at our lifestyles and if needed make changes.

The causes of back pain can be put into three categories:

1) Traumatic – one sudden violent injury to the back
2) Cumulative – repeated abuse to the back due to poor posture, moving heavy loads unsafely
3) Degenerative – due to the natural process of ageing on the structures of the back
A lot of people come under the heading Cumulative. Back pain can result from activities performed throughout a normal day. How many times have you slouched in a chair, sat at a computer for hours at a time, bent over to pick your post off the floor, stooped to pick a child up? These are all normal activities than can occur more than just once during the day.

So, what can be done to help prevent back pain?

Exercise regularly to keep your back and abdominal muscles strong. If like me, the thought of going to a Gym feels you with dread, don’t worry, exercises can be done anywhere. Think of small changes. Use the stairs instead of a lift, walk the dog, take the children for a walk, do some stretches while waiting for the kettle to boil, go swimming, do yoga, dance classes, the list is endless.
If you are experiencing back pain, your first thought maybe to take to your bed and rest for a few days. While a couple of day’s rest may help, after that it is better to keep moving as the pain will allow.

Diet is important. We need to eat regularly to put fuel in our bodies so we can function. Think of your body like a car, if it hasn’t got any petrol it will not move!
Being overweight can put extra pressure on your back muscles and ligaments, so eating a healthy diet is also important.

Life styles can be hectic these days, working, looking after family members, studying, etc.
Relaxation is therefore very important to help recharge our batteries and help with managing stress.

Although stress can help keep us motivated. Too much stress can have a negative effect on our bodies. Stress can lead to us holding our bodies in a stiff position which leads to tense muscles which can cause back pain.

Think about your Posture. Do not sit in front of a computer for long periods, plan to get up from your desk every 45-60 minutes. When sitting at your computer, or on any chair or sofa, be aware of your posture, as it can become very easy to slouch. When lifting make sure you have a good stable base, your load is close to the body, (loads away from the body put more force on the lower back) and don’t twist your back especially when moving loads.

If you are experiencing back pain do not leave it. Get checked out by your GP.
If you are at work and you hurt your back remember to report it and fill out your work place accident/incident form. Keep back safe, it’s the only one you have.
My next blog will look at who suffers when someone hurts their back.

Posted in Training Blogs.