Most people consider that back pain is a given, especially after a certain age and they either learn to live with it or seek medical treatment if the symptoms get too severe. However, the vast majority of pain pains are preventable. All you need to do is know what causes them and what can you do to avoid such situations.
- Too much effort all of a sudden: Let’s face it: our busy lives give us too little time to have a proper level of physical activity, so we try to cram as much of it during holidays or weekends. So, we end up playing baseball, tennis or golf whenever we catch a break, but we don’t have time to take it slow. We consider ourselves athletes and we spend hours at a time, often without proper stretching.This is how the majority of people strain their backs; and, even though it may seem like something that goes away on its own, so that we can do the same thing next weekend, it’s not. These pains end up being a chronic back issue. The solution? Exercise more often and never forget about stretching and cooling down. Even if it’s 10 minutes every day, it matters!
- Improper lifting technique: Lifting heavy objects in an improper manner can result in serious injuries to your back. We all tend to bend over and lift with our back, but that’s the worst thing to do! Instead, the abs the muscles that should carry all the weight. In order to prevent such injuries, make sure you bend your knees, but keep the back straight, keep the object very close to you, never lift something that’s heavier than 25% of your own weight and never lift it above your shoulders or try to twist while carrying it.
- Too much sitting down: Most of us spend at least half an hour driving to a work place where we will be seated in front of the computer for another 8 hours. If you add up eating and driving back, as well as watching TV at night, you’ll see that we spend more than 10 hours/day sitting. This is extremely damaging to the discs in our spine; when we move, a fluid circulates through them, but when we sit down, that circulation stops, thus depriving them of nourishment.The solution? Obviously, we need to cut back on the hours we spend sitting down. If we can’t do this at works, we can try walking instead of driving and cutting down on the time we spend in front of the TV. Even more, we can avoid the most damaging position: sitting down and leaning forward. Even the simple act of keeping our back straight adds some extra “mileage” to it.
- Overuse of the back muscles: If most of the causes above were related to the lack of physical exercise, this one is the exact opposite; yes, there is such a thing as too much exercise and it usually happens to people who are new to sports. So, if you are planning to take on a new sport or join a gym, make sure you speak to a trainer first. He/she should give you the right pointers on how to train so that you don’t overexert or strain any of your muscles.
- Awkward movements: You can hurt your back even when doing simple chores, such as bending down to lift something lightweight from the floor or reaching to a table near you. The simple fact that you twist in an unnatural manner can cause your muscles to strain or the discs in your back to herniate. The solution? Try to be focused on engaging the right muscles every time. Even the simplest gestures can be harmful when done absentmindedly.
What about you? What steps are you taking to protect your back from injury and permanent damage?