Back pain is far from an uncommon problem. According to the 2014-15 National Health Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an estimated 16% of the population suffer from back pain. It’s estimated that 70-90% of all people will experience lower back pain in their lives. Proposed causes range from poor working conditions to lack of exercise to the over-abundance of sitting in the modern lifestyle.
Whatever the causes, people need relief from back pain. If you’ve experienced a twinge lately or you’re simply aware of the risks, here are a few things you can do to prevent it.
Manage your weight
Most back pain is caused by undue strain on the lower back. There are a lot of ways to reduce that strain but being overweight is one of the most common. That extra weight, especially around your belly and hips, can move your centre of gravity to directly over your lower back. As much, maintaining a healthy weight can offer a lot of relief.
Weight alone does not make for a healthy body. Exercise not only controls weight, but it builds the muscle that supports our posture, and improves flexibility, reducing the chances of back injury due to twisting and lifting. If you have experienced back pain, overdoing the bed rest can be dangerous. Managed exercise plans with the help of a physiotherapist can be much more helpful.
Get enough quantity and quality of sleep
Lack of sleep and back pain are very closely tied together. Ensuring you get enough sleep is important, but so is improving your sleeping position, as well. Depending on your preferred sleeping position, improving the support beneath your body could help. For instance, if you sleep on your back, it may be better to put a pillow beneath both your lower back and knees to reduce the strain on these areas.
Mind your posture and positioning, especially when sitting
The modern lifestyle involves a lot more sitting than it used to and sitting improperly can do a lot of damage to your back. Try use ergonomic chairs that provide either straight back or lower back control. Raising your knees slightly above your hips while sitting can make sure your centre of gravity is in place, as well. Just as important is to ensure you take regular breaks from sitting, getting up and moving around at least every hour.
Lift with care
Many lower back injuries happen as a result of sharp movements that the body isn’t prepared to handle. Improper lifting form is a common cause of these kinds of injuries. When lifting, it’s much safer to bend at the knees, not at the weight, and to avoid twisting the body at all when lifting.
Avoid twisting too much
It’s not only while lifting that you should be careful of twisting motions. They can be tough on your back regardless, so when doing work like DIY, housework, or sporting, try to keep twisting to an absolute minimum. If you experience any red flags like tightness, pain, or a momentary halt to your breathing, correct your posture immediately and avoid movements like that in future.
Watch your lifestyle habits
A lot of bad lifestyle habits, including eating too much sugar and saturated fats, leads to restricted blood flow. This can stop blood full of essential nutrients from reaching the spinal discs, which leaves you more vulnerable to the risks of back pain. Of all habits, smoking is the one that increases your chances of back pain the most, however.
Consider back supports
If you have experienced back pain in the past and you want to prevent it from coming back, there are plenty of back support products available. Back braces may have once been the only option available, but special corsets and elastic bands are also available. The effectiveness of these supports is not widely proven, however, so don’t rely on them singularly.
Start and end your exercises properly
Stretches, warm-ups, and cool downs are essential. Without stretching and warming up, the muscles around your back are more inflexible and increase your chances of injury. Similarly, without cooling, you’re not going to relieve the tightness in your muscles and joints, which also leads to injury.
Take action early
The most important step of all is to take action as soon as you can when back pain strikes. Back pain can easily become chronic, but a physiotherapist can help you find the causes and implement solutions quickly to nip the issue in the bud. If you’re concerned about your back pain, get in touch with Sycamore Health for certified, expert physiotherapy services in Caboolture, Queensland.