What is Back Pain?
Back pain can affect people of any age and may happen at some point in our lives. It is a symptom of a medical condition that when not addressed to can cause serious complications. Pain may gradually build up or may also be quick to start, and pain can range from a tingling sensation to a sharp and chronic sensation.
There are many factors that increase the risk of back pain. For instance, those who are not physically fit are prone to back injury because of bone brittleness, whereas those who are overweight can put too much strain on their back because of the extra weight they carry.
Our job and what we do to our body can also affect the overall health of our back. Suddenly pulling or lifting loads that are heavy, or sitting with poor posture can cause the back too much strain. In fact, our daily activities when done with poor body mechanics is the most common cause of back pain.
Structure problems, such as in ruptured disks, may also cause back pain. The back is composed of stacked vertebrae, and to cushion between them are discs that are made up of jelly-like substance. If these discs break, they can protrude causing pressure to the nearby nerves and spinal cord affecting all organs and bodily functions attached to them. In this case, however, the lower extremities are normally affected.
How to Prevent Back Pain
Though most back pain usually gets better after a few days or weeks, it is still best that you pay close attention to your back’s overall health. Luckily there are numerous ways to prevent back pain and keep it from ever returning.
By far, the best way to prevent back pain is by conditioning the back. Getting enough exercise everyday can strengthen muscle cores and increase the back’s flexibility, which prevents bone brittleness and injury. Simple back exercises may only last for 10 to 15 minutes a day, which can also be performed while at work. You can start with lunges of five to ten repetitions where you put your hands on your hips and take a big step forward, then lunge down your body with your knee at 90 degrees to support your weight. You may also try doing chair dips where you sit down at the edge of your chair while placing your hands behind your hips for support. Then you gradually and carefully lower your buttocks off the seat with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and chest elevated and head up. All these simple exercises can help ease muscle tension and inflammation as well as improve body core, protecting your spine against injury.
The next thing you can do is to check your posture. Good posture enables the body to sit, stand, walk, and lay down in positions that cause less strain on supporting muscles and ligaments such as the back. It also keeps bones in correct alignment to distribute body weight properly and for muscles to be used correctly. It can also prevent wearing and tearing of ligaments during repetitive motions and strenuous lifting of heavy objects.
Therefore, it is important that you study not only how to do about your daily activities, but also how to use proper body mechanics. For instance, when you lift heavy objects, you have to keep your back straight while bending your knees and hips. Never bend forward abruptly at the waist with your knees straight as it can make you prone to sciatica or disk breakdown. And when you do sit or lie down, make sure you maintain a position with the S curve in your back. Sitting with a low back support or lying on your back with a small pillow under knees is best.
Furthermore, since it is evident that being overweight can cause strain to your back, it is advisable to watch your weight. Shedding extra pounds can release your midsection and lower back from pressure. Staying fit through proper diet and exercise can help prevent build-up of back problems as well as osteoarthritis brought by extra pounds and old age.
Our vices such as smoking can increase the risk of developing back pain because the nicotine in cigarettes can block blood vessels and, therefore, restrict proper blood flow to all body parts, including muscles and veins in the back.
Lastly, keeping a stress-free life can eliminate upper back pain. People under stress may suffer from poor diet or lack of exercise as well as poor posture, all of which can affect your overall health. Doing relaxation routines such as yoga can bring back a healthy perspective, which later on benefits a healthy body.