DISCLAIMER: If you are experiencing back pain, seek medical attention from your doctor or chiropractor and get a thorough assessment.
#1 The Weekend
For most people, the weekend is seen as the time to do things they wouldn’t normally do during the week such as going for a round of golf or spending hours tidying up the backyard. However, these breaks from your usual routine can be extremely hard on your back and may cause injuries. The best prevention for back pain is regular exercise, so that you’re fighting fit when the weekend rolls around. Your abdominal muscles (or obliques) are key to providing back stability, especially when tackling some of these activities. Tip: Grab an exercise ball and use it while sitting down to strengthen your abdominal muscles.
#2 Poor Lifting Technique
Picking up heavy items can cause serious back injury, if the proper technique is not used. Here are the basics for safe lifting:
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Don’t bend your waist.
- Keep the object as close to you as possible.
- Never hold an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.
- Don’t move something that weighs 20% more than your body weight.
- Don’t pivot twist or turn while lifting. Point your feet at the item and face it as you pick it up.
#3 Everyday Activities
Even during everyday activities, back pain can occur. If your body is not prepared for the movement even with such a simple task as picking up a paperclip off the floor, you could hurt your back. The injury could be even worse if you are fatigued and running on autopilot. A simple way to counteract this is to keep your core muscles engaged throughout the day. Imagine you’re wearing a corset and pull your navel towards your spine. This will help strengthen and support your back.
#4 Commuting & Computing
If you always sit at work, in the car, on public transport and at home, it makes for an unhappy back. Your discs are like pillows, cushioning the vertebrae in your spine. However, they have a poor blood supply. When you move, fluids that provide nutrition are able to circulate through the discs. But when you sit for long periods of time, your discs are deprived and cause a lot more stress in your back. Here are some ways you can help prevent this stress:
- Get up and move around every 20 minutes.
- Keep your spine properly aligned by holding reading material at eye level.
- Choose a chair that supports your back and adjust it so you feet lay flat on the floor.