A study by the University of Maryland reports that back pains cause around 3 million visits every year to the ER in the US. In fact, they’re the single most reason for missed work in the country. From poor posture and muscular fatigue to stress, reasons for back pain can be varied. Sometimes, they also serve as an indicator to internal problems such as kidney stones, UTI, ulcers, ovarian cyst, etc. Treatment depends on diagnosis and hence differs. But here are 5 ways that can help you avoid back pain:
1) Pay Attention to Posture:
The fact that poor posture contributes to back pain has been flogged to death, yet it remains a major reason for the problem. When you sit, make sure that your ears, hips and shoulders are aligned and the stomach is pulled in. Avoid standing for long hours and walk with shoes without heels. If yours is a desk job, invest in ergonomic chairs that offer lower back support. Chairs that swivel prevent the back from twisting at the waist and have adjustable arm rests. Whilst driving for long hours, move the car seat forward to avoid bending and take regular breaks to stop and walk around. Weigh your child’s school bag and make sure that it does not weigh more than 20% of his/her body weight.
2) Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:
Obesity puts pressure on the spine, particularly the vertebrae and the discs. An active lifestyle that includes a healthy dose of light to moderate aerobic exercises (walking, swimming, etc.), strength training and yoga helps to keep back pain at bay. Smoking affects blood circulation and is a likely contributor to the problem.
3) Lift Things Carefully:
In most cases, back pain is the direct result of a patient’s attempt at lifting heavy objects or making a sudden movement. Always stand with your feet spread apart while lifting heavy objects. When bending to pick an object, tuck your buttocks in and tighten stomach muscles. This way, the spine forms a natural S position and protects the pelvis. When lifting a heavy object, never twist from the waist. And whenever possible, ask for help to lift objects.
4) A healthy mind leads to a healthy mind:
Stress can contribute to a lot of factors- back pain is one of them. Make sure that you sleep well. As my Nana said, ‘there’s no worry that a proper sleep cannot solve’! Coffee and beverages containing caffeine should be avoided before bedtime. People experience back pain often find that pain intensifies during the night, hence getting a good night’s sleep becomes a task. Use therapeutic pillows that ease pain and offer comfort.
5) Keep your bones and spine strong:
Regular doses of the sunshine vitamin (Vitamin D) along with regular intake of calcium helps to keep bones healthy. Spine strengthening yoga exercises can be practiced to keep the spine strong.
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