Good Back Care
It is important that you keep your back fit and healthy. This does not only put you in the best position to prevent pain, but also enables you to control the pain when it occurs.
Research has shown that it is difficult to prevent back pain completely, but there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of developing pain, or reduce the impact this has on your life when it does occur. Many factors lead to back pain, it is therefore important to reduce multiple risk factors by:-
Staying active and participating in regular exercise. There is no need to run a marathon or become a fitness fanatic to achieve this. Small changes to your lifestyle can make a significant difference i.e. walk rather than drive, climb steps rather than take the lift, when using public transport get off one stop earlier, and walk a little further. Gardening, hoovering, cleaning or walking the dogs, are all examples of daily activities whereby you are being physically active.
You should choose an exercise or activity that you enjoy and that gives you the benefit you want, such as Pilates, walking, swimming, cycling, attending a fitness class, gym work etc. If you do these activities 2-4 times a week for about 20-30 minutes, you will feel and notice a difference. Besides using these activates to keep your back fit and healthy, your mind and the rest of your body will experience the benefits!
Looking after your posture
Your spine is a very flexible and strong structure that can cope with many of the stresses in daily life. Ergonomists often say that the best posture for your back is the next one, showing that regularly altering your position is very useful. You will see that your spine is an ‘S’ shape and it is important to keep this natural curve of your back when sitting. Good chairs follow the natural curve of the back. However, all backs are different, good chairs should be adjustable, to ensure you can set them up for your specific needs.
Tip – when kneeling, bend from the knees, and not from the back, especially when you have to lift something at the same time!
Flexibility is one of the key characteristics of your back. To improve or maintain the flexibility, you can do mobilizing and strengthening exercises. Pilates can help to improve your posture, elongate muscles, and decrease back pain. It is important to regularly change your position, apart from sleeping; the spine really isn’t designed to be in one place for an extended period!
Lifting heavy goods
Lifting heavy or awkwardly shaped items can be a risk factor for back pain, especially when done repetitively. To reduce the chances of lifting giving you a back injury, you should use manual handling aids with correct technique. When lifting, bend your knees and keep the weight as close to your body as possible. If the item is very heavy, ask for help, or use tools to make the task easier, especially when having to do repetitive lifting.
Healthy eating & drinking
A healthy diet and drinking sufficient amounts of water is important for everyone, including people with spinal pain. It has been suggested that drinking sufficient water is important to keep the intervertebral discs hydrated. A healthy diet is good for your general well being, so feed and hydrate your body well.