How to Avoid a Back Injury
If you’ve ever had back pain, you know it can be debilitating. Up to 80% of the world’s population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common causes of missed work days, accounting for more than one million of them each year. Whether acute or chronic, back pain impacts every realm of daily living, from socializing and making a living to maintaining optimal mental health.
Currently, back pain treatment is mostly limited to the following options: medication, rest, exercise and surgery. A few less-invasive alternatives to back surgery that include stem cell therapy and PRP treatment are currently being used to successfully manage some types of back pain; for the most part, however, the available resources for back pain sufferers have changed little over the past 50 years. That’s why it’s important to take care of your back before a problem begins. Here are some proven ways to avoid a back injury:
Practice Good Posture
Make a conscious effort to center your weight over your feet by standing (or sitting) straight with your shoulders relaxed and pulled back. Centering your force of gravity with your posture helps keep your back in its natural S-shaped position, relieving strain to your muscles, bones and ligaments and, thus, protecting you from back injury.
Lift With Your Legs
You’ve no doubt heard that you should always “lift with your legs.” When needing to pick up an object, you should squat down rather than bend from the waist. This enables you to use your leg muscles instead of your back muscles. When possible, you should avoid lifting altogether, instead pushing or rolling your load on a cart.
Lighten Your Load - Figuratively and Literally
Choose your handbag, backpack or briefcase carefully. Bags that drape from one side of your body to the other (such as messenger and crossbody bags) help distribute the weight of your load more evenly across your shoulders and back, thereby lessening overall strain. Removing unnecessary items from your bags will also help keep your body from becoming overtaxed. In much the same way, keeping your weight down will relieve stress to your joints and muscles and help prevent damage from overuse and trauma.
Of course, exercise is one of the best ways to prevent (and even treat) back pain. Physical activity not only strengthens muscles, it helps reduce inflammation and increases blood flow. This means not only that your body can more easily avoid being injured, but that it can more easily repair itself when it does!
Similarly, eating healthy is paramount to maintaining your overall fitness and avoiding injury. Good foods fight inflammation, protect the immune system, and help us maintain our weight, all of which serve as safeguards against unnecessary tension and stress to both the body, as well as the mind.
Or eat fish, spinach or cheese. Consume adequate amounts of foods rich in vitamin D and calcium to build strong bones and protect against osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the deterioration of bone tissue that can lead to fractures and other structural spine problems. Avoid it, and you can avoid one common contributor to lower back pain
Finally, it’s important to just relax! Chronic stress can color your ability to cope, magnifying your pain perception and response. It also physically tenses your muscles, making them more prone to injury. So take a few minutes each day to clear your mind so that your body remains stress — and tense — free!
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes