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How To Prevent Back Pain

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 29 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
How To Prevent Back Pain

It is well known that there is a wealth of information available regarding back pain; the signs, symptoms and the treatments for it, but the prevalence of back pain could be significantly reduced if the general public took some very basic steps in trying to prevent this condition from occurring. Obviously certain diseases and developmental disorders cannot usually be avoided, but everyday the incidence of back injuries, strains and sprains can be reduced by employing a few simple measures.

Lifestyle As A Factor In Back Pain

The most important factor for preventing back pain is by maintaining a regular programme of exercise. Exercise helps to keep the muscles, tendons and ligaments supple, strong and flexible, allowing the body to move in a more fluid way and being more able to cope with sudden movements or impacts, thus decreasing the chance of injury.

By taking part in low-impact activities, the risks of suffering a back injury are lessened, as with exercises like swimming, yoga, Pilates, walking and cycling.

When under taking an exercise or activity, wear supportive clothing, bandages if necessary, to provide extra support to the skeletal system. Whatever the chosen activity is, a thorough and suitable warm-up and warm-down should be performed.

By not smoking, people are largely reducing the risk of the development of degenerative disc disorders and herniation of the discs. As intervertebral discs have no blood supply of their own, they rely on the surrounding structures to provide the oxygen and nutrients carried in their blood supply. Smoking considerably reduces the body's oxygen levels, and this is seen in the oxygen made available to the discs. Discs become fragile and dehydrated increasing the risks of back injury and damage. Keeping a healthy weight ensures the strain put upon joints and ligaments is kept to a minimum, this is especially true of the ligaments of the lower back, and particular reference to the sacroiliac joints which can overstretch with vast weight gain and can become permanently weakened, causing back injury and resultant back pain.

A diet rich in nutrients and calcium, will help to prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis.

Occupational Considerations And Back Pain

Those in occupations that involve lifting, moving or handling awkward or heavy items should have the correct lifting aids and equipment provided to prevent back injury and back pain. It is a legal requirement for employers to do this. Also available is the presence of a training programme showing employees approved lifting and handling techniques. It is however, the employee's responsibility to attend these training sessions, and adopt their practices accordingly.

Avoid static positions for long-periods, especially if at a desk all day, and take regular short breaks to give the opportunity of a shift in position to avoid back pain. Use earpieces if on the telephone all day instead of cradling the phone between your ear and neck; injury to the cervical spine is very painful.

The correct seating apparatus is essential for aiding in the prevention of back pain and employers should invest in a suitable chair for each employee, it will probably prove to be cost-effective.

General Issues About Back Injuries

Learning how to achieve a correct and healthy posture is an excellent way of preventing a back injury. Shoulders should be back, with the spinal column straight (with the exception of its natural curves), abdominal muscles should be firm, held in and pulled up, and chin should be parallel to the ground. These positions should be practised until they become the normal body stance. By achieving this, the body's centre of gravity is balanced, weight is distributed as nature intended and correct body and organ alignment is maintained, avoiding back pain.

Footwear should be correctly fitting and have a solid base with support provided for the arch of the foot. Heel-wearing should be kept to a minimum, as the body's centre of gravity can be temporarily altered and cause unnecessary strain to the muscles of the back, which can result in back injury.

When moving objects around the home, ensure there are enough people to assist and that everyone is communicating efficiently. It is helpful to remember that by pushing an object instead of pulling lowers the chance of sustaining a back injury. Never twist at the waist, instead turn the whole upper body, using the feet to turn. Bend knees when reaching down; do not bend in the middle with straight legs, even if it's only for a short distance.

Do not get over-tired or over-stressed as these can raise the chance of back injury and delay healing.

These simple measures can help avoid sustaining a back injury, but it is important to remember that back pain is a symptom, and exists to tell us when something is wrong; it should not be ignored.

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