Saturday, August 23, 2008

Seven Simple Steps to Prevent Back Pain

Who is watching your back?

Well the stats say that more than four out of every five people will at some point in their lives suffer from some degree of back pain. This condition in the United States can cause 300 million days per year of restricted activity or an average of one day per year for every man, woman and child in the entire country. It can also cost the US economy nearly 150 billion dollars in medical treatments and lost productivity.

You may ask, "What can I do to help prevent back pain from taking away my active lifestyle and costing me hundreds and even thousands of dollars in medical costs?"

Well the pain in our back is not necessarily the result of serious injury. So to prevent and relive aches and pains from common causes here are seven things that you can do.

1. Get up and move around (every half hour or so) Don't get so focused on your work that you forget to get up. This moving about will stimulate your blood circulation which in turn will nurture back tissues. Use a timer (egg) to remind yourself to take a stretch break and move around a bit.

2. Watch your posture. When you sit maintain a natural curve in your lower back. To get the idea you can use a sponge roll or a rolled hand towel in the small of your back to help in training your body how to sit. Use a proper chair and avoid the use of overstuffed, sagging chairs.

3. Get your sleep. Check out your mattress for firmness. When you are lying on your side you want your spine to be straight. Try sleeping with a pillow between your knees (or under them if you are lying on your back) If you wake in the morning and you're comfortable, the mattress that you are sleeping on would appear to be just fine.

4. Exercise. A well-supported back depends on strong muscles in your midsection. By doing a few simple exercises on a regular basis you can tone your abdominal, side and back muscles. Simply set aside a few minutes in your day for your regular exercise routine and just do it.

5. De-Stress. Stress doesn't create back pain but it can magnify it. Try some relaxation techniques such as message or progressive muscle relaxation. My favorite is simply sitting passively in my favorite chair while listening to my selection of quiet time music. Don't forget to have that cup of tea.

6. Delegate the lifting. Lifting is where we can injure our backs so think twice about doing it. We may think we are still twenty but our backs have endured those extra years and now if you over lift or do repetitive lifting you can exceed the endurance of your back muscles. So simply think before you do it and let a younger back do the heavy lifting.

7. Don't twist and lift. Our backs hate it when we twist and lift so remember to turn your entire body and don't overextend your reach. If you are at your desk simply turn your chair rather than twisting your spine. So there you have seven simple tips that we all can do to keep our backs healthy and strong. Put these on your fridge or anywhere else that will remind you every day to watch your back. Don't we all appreciate it when someone is watching our backs.

For more on maintaining a healthy body visit or click the hyperlink.

Physical Therapy Exercises.

Gary Gray

I am a six year stroke survivor on my long journey back to recovering as many abilities as possible and finding my new normal.