If you’re like approximately 80% of North Americans, you have or will experience back pain at some point in your life. Correct posture, body mechanics, and stretching play a vital role in preventing back pain and can be implemented throughout your day using simple techniques. Read more
Sitting Down On The Job
Sitting improperly is often the greatest cause of back pain. Supporting your back while driving, at work or at home can help reduce strain. This can be done with a rolled towel, small pillow or a specially designed seat support, available at many medical supply stores. Remove the support every half hour for five minutes to give your lower back a change of position. Ensure that your head is positioned with your ear in line with your shoulder and your chin parallel with the floor.
Avoid leaning to one side, sitting for long periods of time, raising your legs, and using overstuffed furniture that does not offer adequate support.
When working at a desk, your chair should be pulled close to the desk. An office chair with short arm rests will allow this. You should be able to adjust the height, back rest, and seat of your chair. Adjust the back rest spring so that the back rest moves with you.
Using a swivel chair enables you to work without twisting your back. Place objects such as computers as close to you as possible to minimize the amount of twisting and turning you need to do. When you lean forward at your desk, bend forward at the hips instead of rounding your lower back. Also, sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees above your hips. If you are unable to adequately raise your knees, try placing your feet on a stool. These positions will allow you to keep your back straight and in good alignment.
Talking on the Phone Can Be a Pain in the Neck
Holding the phone between your ear and shoulder is a common cause of neck pain. To alleviate this, use headsets or other hands-free devices.
After sitting for a prolonged period, it is helpful to straighten your back to an upright position and, if possible, stand and walk around.
If you have to stand for long durations try to shift your weight from one foot to the other, or place one foot on a stool. Back health is related to good posture, so make sure you are standing tall with a flattened low back, relaxed knees, and tightened abdominal muscles. This will soon become a habit and help prevent low back pain.
Lifting and Carrying with Ease
When picking up an object, apply proper lifting techniques regardless of its size or weight. This means bending at the knees, not the waist, tucking in the buttocks and tightening the abdominals. Most importantly, never twist to pick up an object. Always face it squarely.
In addition, when you carry an object, hold it at waist level and close to your body. Avoid carrying an object on one side of your body. If you must carry to one side of the body, make sure to alternate sides. This is a great tip for mothers when carrying their babies.
A Good Night’s Sleep
The ideal sleep position is on your side with the knees drawn up on a mattress that is flat, firm and comfortable. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. You will want to avoid sleeping on your stomach, staying in one position for too long, or extending the arms overhead.
Don’t Forget Exercise
Regular exercise will increase the strength and flexibility in your leg and back muscles, helping you avoid excessive strain and possible injury. Some forms of exercise, such as yoga and tai chi, may help relieve or prevent back pain by increasing flexibility and reducing tension. However, these exercises should not be done if they are uncomfortable or place a strain on the back. And don’t neglect strength training; strong abdominal, back and leg muscles play a vital role in helping you maintain good posture and body mechanics.