Did you know that back pain costs the economy billions of pounds every year. Low back problems account for more lost work hours than any other occupational injury.
The spine or vertebral column is make up of 33 individual bones and looks like an S-curve. This curve makes it 16 times stronger than if it were straight. The spine has a high degree of flexibility forward and to the sides, with a limited amount backward movement. The neck and lower back can rotate. Dense ligaments and strong muscles surround it and strengthen the spine these are known as Erector Spinae. What a lot of people are unaware is that the abdominal muscles may account for up to 40 percent of torso support.
Obesity, which a sedentary lifestyle produces, causes more weight to be carried in the abdominal muscles, resulting in greater pressure on the back. Having an increase in the curve of the lower back known as lordosis, or swayback, is an observer’s clue to identifying someone who probably has back pain.
Maintaining proper alignment of the body in all areas of activity is of utmost importance for preventing and treating back pain. In other words, GOOD POSTURE is the key. Optimal posture puts the least amount of strain on the ligaments and joints in the spine, pelvis, and legs. Proper body posture while walking, sitting and lifting is essential in preventing and controlling low back pain.
Check out below and see how it feels to stand correctly.
. Stand up and rock from heel to toe and then put the heels down find the point where you can feel the weight of your body coming through your legs into your feet. Keep the knees soft
. Place your hands on your hips and gently move your hips forwards and backwards. Imagine that your pelvis is like a bucket of water and you want to level it out so that the water does not tip out of the front or back.
. Gently pull in your tummy muscles. To do this, think of gently pulling your tummy button in towards your spine and off your waist band. Not too tight, you should be able to breathe normally.
. Lift the shoulders up back and then slide the shoulder blades down your back
. Check that your chin is lifted and you are looking forward not down.
Think about how you are standing as you go about your daily activities, if you catch your reflection in a mirror check that you are standing tall. When you sit in a chair make sure that you always sit tall and let the chair support you. Placing the small of the back into the back of the chair will stop you slumping or slouching.
Some people don’t have the body awareness or strength to assume good posture, however, help is available. It’s EXERCISE.
Exercise will increase your body awareness and adding in exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles and the back as well as, stretching out the tight muscles, will gradually correct posture and relieve back pain.
When lifting heavy objects, always try to keep the object you are lifting close to you body. NEVER lift any object when your trunk is twisted. If you watch the video “How to get on and off the floor” you will see that the weight of the body on rising is taken through the legs and not the back.