Back care: are you overlooking it?
Bad habits decrease the health of it, overlooking it can be easy and repeated incorrect behaviors of it can lead to misalignment. Did I also mention that its neglect can also cause back pain?
Sounds pretty terrible, right?
The “it” referred to in the above statements is back care – one of the many highly overlooked areas in terms of overall health.
Even though it is not something that is consciously thought about or considered, the back is actually involved in all daily activities and is a large part of one’s core. But, when the back is not properly taken care of, bulging discs, arthritic changes, pain, weaker back muscles or even structural changes can often times occur.
So, in order to stress the importance of properly taking care of the back, Zach Girthoffer, PT, DPT, cert MDT and Lead Physical Therapist at Alegent-Creighton Health Rehabilitation Center, has answered some helpful questions regarding overall back care, proactive steps for improving back health and what to do when back pain happens.
Can you explain the importance of back care?
Back care is one of the leading costs to healthcare. Keeping an individual’s back healthy is paramount because it is part of daily function. Basically, you need your back to accomplish anything you do during the day.
Unfortunately, the people that pay the most attention to their back health are the people that have hurt them. People take this for granted until it affects them directly. If they only knew how debilitating back pain is, then they would try to avoid it from ever happening.
What are some negative habits that impact back health that people might not realize they are doing?
Some negative habits that people do are bending forward too much or having poor sitting posture. For example, you put more pressure on your lower back when you’re sitting poorly compared to walking or standing.
What are some of the causes of lower back pain? Upper back pain?
Poor posture creates prolonged stresses on the back which can cause lower back pain. Poor lifting mechanics when picking up a heavy objects off of the floor and shoveling the driveway while not using your legs are also other examples of everyday activities that can lead to both lower and upper back pain.
Upper back pain can be caused by poor posture. This leads to a prolonged stress that eventually leads to over straining and poor overall muscle function.
Always remember to sit up nice and tall. Any time that you notice that you’re sitting, if your back starts to ache, you need to adjust how you sit.
Long car rides or airplane travel can also result in poor sitting posture. Simply, the seats don’t have the support that they need. Use a lumbar pillow when you travel and keep them in your office or car. They are relatively affordable. If you don’t want to go spend money, roll up a towel or take a small pillow and place it in the low part of your back above the belt line. This is a small task but can create a significant difference.
What are some tips to not hurting one’s back when weight lifting?
Remember to keep your back straight. These are a few little things that you can do that ensure that it happens. Monitor for straight alignment. Also, remember to keep your eye level up. As soon as your head starts to dip down, then your whole body gravitates downwards and strain is put on your back. Bend at the hips and knees, not the back.
What should you do if you start to notice back pain?
Has anything changed in your daily function? Have you been sitting in new furniture? Any house changes? Try to identify a causing factor. If there is nothing, start by monitoring your posture. Starting a strengthening and stretching program can be beneficial. By contacting a healthcare professional, you can recognize and avoid negative activities and they can help identify the proper means of care to help alleviate the pain.
It is vital to reinforce that back health is a very important topic that is relevant to everyone. As referenced by Zach, improving back health and mitigating back pain risks can become ingrained into a daily routine with just a little bit of effort and insight. Want to learn how physical activity can help prevent back pain? Read this article and implement the recommended tips. Plus, keep your posture straight at work and exercise your core muscles with the Active Sitting ball.
Source: Technogym Blog