Back in Action
Have you ever had that nagging pain in your back that just would not go away? Or if it did go away it came back again the next time you bent over to pick something up? You are not alone!!! Back pain is a very common problem. Nation-wide, back injuries are #1 in cost for worker’s compensation claims, #2 in sick time, and once the low back has been injured, it is 10 times more likely to be re-injured.
There are many causes of low back pain. One of the common causes is improper lifting. It is all too common to see people bend at the waist to pick things up instead of bending at the knees and using the legs to lift. The strength for lifting comes from the legs.
A second cause of low back pain is over exertion-otherwise known as lifting too much. Always “test the load” before attempting to lift something. Just because you can lift the load doesn’t mean you should. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if the load is too heavy!
Decreased flexibility and lack of exercise can also lead to a low back pain. The muscles and tendons need to stay flexible so that the body can move freely. Just performing a few stretches every day is all it takes to achieve and maintain flexibility. Hamstring stretches, quadriceps stretches and abdominal stretching are just a few of the exercises that can be done.
Poor posture is another cause of low back injury. The position in which you stand, sit and sleep can all lead to low back pain. Maintaining good posture while sitting and standing can significantly reduce low back pain. Most people don’t realize they have bad posture because they are so used to walking or sitting the way they do. Slouching in a chair may not be painful the first few times you do it, but back pain can be produced from weeks or months of sitting in that position. Also, sleeping on you stomach is not recommended. It can increase stress by placing too much of an arch in the low back. Lying on your back or on your side are the recommended postures for sleeping.
A final cause of low back pain is something most people don’t think about in relation to low back pain-improper shoes! Walking on concrete for 12 hours a day takes a toll on your body. This is especially true if the shoes you are wearing are not designed to be worn all day or they are just plain worn out. Shoes older than 1 year old should be replaced-even if they look like they are brand new. They no longer provide the necessary support and cushioning needed.