Back pain is one thing most likely to elicit a twinge of sympathy from the hardest of hearts. It is estimated that every person in the world will suffer from it in his/her lifetime – mild to serious, chronic or temporary.
You could get an attack at any point along the spine, especially the lower back area which takes on the maximum weight and stress. Most common causes: strain or bruising of muscles; sprain or injury to ligaments; and spasms when the injured muscle knots up as part of the body’s attempt to immobilize it to prevent further injury. Other causes include osteoporosis, arthritis, a slipped disc, or even excessive gas, besides more serious causes like tumors, diabetes or kidney malfunctions that emerge in a doctor’s clinic.
Blame it on your lifestyle
An important factor and one that is entirely in you hands, is lifestyle. For instance, improper postures while sitting and sleeping, and carelessness during walking, stretching or playing, especially when you are overweight, are few common causes. Grand illusions of being a Hercules incarnate and lifting heavy weights or improperly hefting them around are other frequent errors.
Bad posture is the biggest culprit. Desk jobs mean sitting for hours before computers where we unconsciously slump into odd positions. Or twist our backs frequently while trying to reach for something behind or beside us, or stretch forward too far; too fast. We also unconsciously slip into awkward positions while reading or watching TV sprawled on the bed or sofa.
Chairs with gaps at the lower back level are deadly – avoid them. And if you think you are invulnerable because you have that perfectly ‘ergonomically’ designed chair; know this – most people unconsciously lean forward in such a way that their lower back moves away from the chair base and thus remains unsupported.
Get up and walk around
Sitting anywhere, anyhow, for long periods means that dangerous pressure points develop along the back. The load on you back is the highest when you are sitting, less while standing and least when you are sleeping.
The golden rule is to get up and walk around every 15-20 minutes. When on a long drive, get out of the car, walk around, stretch you limbs after every two hours. While driving, the back of the car seat should not recline beyond 30 degrees and ideally the seat bottom should be tilted up slightly in front.
It’s not a high
Avoid regular use of high heels – they hamper good posture, ruin you body’s alignment and hurt the back, feet and neck. Our feet are designed to bear the entire weight of the body evenly across their surface. However, the feet and legs are placed in and unnatural position when you wear heels. Most of the pressure is transferred to the front of the foot.
The modern-day stress epidemic is another factor since back pain can be psychosomatic. Stress/emotional problems both cause back pain and aggravate any existing pain. Yoga and meditation sessions are effective in such cases.
Weak stomach muscles heighten back strain and cause you pelvis to twist abnormally. Regular and proper exercise help tremendously since it keeps joints mobile, muscles conditioned and, more importantly, raises your pain threshold.
Don’t over exercise
Doctors receive many back-pain patients who are victims of improperly-trained gym instructors or half-baked yoga teachers. Suddenly launching into heavy, unaccustomed activity is a sure recipe for disaster.