Little Things can Make the Difference


Back pain is something that most of us will experience sometime in our lives. Often the cause of back pain is misunderstood. The perception is we must be lifting something heavy to cause an injury. Often it is the little things we do daily that initiates the injury process, and it may be the lift or twist that is the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Here are some facts: 

  • Sitting places up to 50% more force on the back as compared to standing erect.
  • Prolonged sitting or standing with a forward head or slightly bent forward position increases the pressure on the lumbar disc and temporarily changes the pressure location to the back wall of the disc next to spinal nerve roots.
  • We live in a world of gravity that continually acts on our body. In contrast, in space where there is reduced or no gravity the average height gain of an astronaut is 3 inches.
  • Poor posture, tight muscles and weak core strength contribute to the risk of back injuries. Our body sags in response to gravity adding stress to our back.
  • Pain, tingling and numbness can go from the back to your foot and anywhere in between. Often the cause of this pain is in your back.
  • Heavy and awkward lifting can be contributors to back pain.
  • A cough, sneeze or forced exertion can increase back pain.

What can you do?

  • Take stock of your daily behaviors and posture. Do you walk, sit, and stand in good posture?
  • Adjust your chair to fit your posture. Does the back support fill the inward curve of your low back? Do you sit back in the chair and up on your pelvis?
  • After prolonged sitting, stand up and gently perform a back bend to neutralize the disc pressure.
  • Eliminate all lifts from the floor.
  • Set your work bench up to reduce any extended reaches and awkward bending.
  • After a prolonged drive the first thing you should do is get out of the car and perform a couple gentle back bends before doing any lifting.
  • As you age your body changes. Muscles weaken and shorten. Stretching and strengthening can help slow this change. Maintaining good posture, core strength and flexibility will slow these changes.
  • Good sleep and good food are essential to healthy body.

By Allan Brown

Courtesy of MEMIC

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