Back Pain and how to help prevent it

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By: Chris Schliefert

Back pain… if there were an injury Wheel of Fortune this would be one of the more prolific sections to land on. Everyone thinks that they’re invincible and that it won’t happen to them, but life often has other ideas. I should know, I managed to do something to my back recently and let me tell you; my imitation of a pretzel is neither fun nor painless. Having to walk around hunched over (if it was even possible to walk at all) is far harder than it looks.

Taking care of your back is one of the most important things you can do. Back injuries are very painful and often debilitating, which can lead to life being rather painful and restrictive. The thing about back injuries is that they often are a result of a variety of things as opposed to one sudden event: Your sitting posture, the way you sleep, even the way your seat is configured in your car can all lead to an injured back.

Having the right bed is one of the most important things you can do to maintain back health. People often seem to be put off by the price that a decent bed and mattress go for, but when you compare the amount of time you spend in your bed to something like your car or office chair you should realise that a good bed is more than a place to sleep; it’s an investment toward good health. A good bed should have a solid base and a good firm mattress. When you lie on it, depending on the way you sleep, your spine should make a straight line from neck to pelvis.

Your car is another area that can contribute to a bad back. If you are the type of person who spends many hours driving you’re probably keeping your back in the same position the whole time. Locking your spine into one position for too long is not a good idea, you should make slight seat adjustments fairly frequently in order to keep your back limber and happy. Improper seat position is also a contributing factor that many people don’t pay attention to. Making sure that your knees are bent and that your lower back has a slight curve in it are just a couple of basic things you can do.

At work it’s a different situation depending on the type of job you have. If you have an office type job that involves you sitting down for lengthy periods of the day; you should make sure that you have an ergonomically designed chair and appropriate workstation. While proper posture is to sit with your buttock far back and your back straight without leaning on anything, this is actually bad for your back. Good ergonomic chairs have lumbar support to help maintain the proper curve in your spine. Also, a footrest that ensures your knees are at the same level as your pelvis is great for maintaining the correct seating procedures.

If your job is more of an active job though; then the best things to remember is to never lift with your back, always with your knees, and make sure that you don’t twist to either side as you lift. Making sure not to lift heavy things without assistance also goes a long way towards a healthy back.

Remember, you only have one back and it has to last you for many years to come. Do your best to keep it healthy and you’ll be able to live life to the fullest.

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