Back Pain and Remedies

Beautiful and strong back is a symbol of elegance and style. It not only makes your appearance look graceful but also makes you stand taller. A strong back, and a strong overall body to go with it, helps you exude ease and confidence in everything you do. But to have a strong back you have to take proper care and follow proper lifestyle. Normally people suffer from back pain because they do not follow proper lifestyle and are careless about proper posture.

The lower back is the site of frequent problems caused by congenital abnormalities, poor posture, sudden violent twisting or jerking and poor body mechanics such as incorrect sitting and lifting postures i.e., lifting heavy objects wrongly using the back instead of the legs. Incorrect posture or faulty body mechanics put a tremendous strain on the muscles and ligaments of the lower back causing back pain problems.

Other Causes of back pain:

Besides the negative impact that smoking causes on your heart and lungs, smoking damages the disks of the spine too, through its effect on blood circulation. Surveys have identified cigarette smoke as one of the major risk factors for back pain.

Like smoking, alcohol also restricts the blood vessels and can contribute to poor circulation around the disks. Moderate drinking contributes very little to disk degeneration, but alcohol abuse can lead to severe back consequences.

Good Posture Is Important:

The way you sit on your chair, the way you sleep, the way you carry yourself, the way you walk, stand, all these positions collectively affect the back. It's important to choose and assume the best positions for these and other daily activities.

Your posture when you are standing
Stand straight and don't slouch and keep your stomach and butt tucked in, and the rest of your body will tend to follow suit and get in line. By keeping your abdomen tucked-in, your lower back will get adequate support.

Your posture when you are sitting:
Sitting position is the most harmful for your back. Though you spend more time sitting than standing hence it is important that you follow proper posture. Common sitting habits that could cause you back pain are slouching in your seat, leaning too far back, and crossing your legs. Instead, try resting your feet on a foot bar or a footstool, to help you sit tall and keep the pressure off your back. Your chair should give you a firm back and bottom support so as to avoid any strain or discomfort. Make sure your feet rest well on the floor while sitting and your knees do not bend more than at right angles. Whenever possible, try and take a break from your chair by standing up to stretch or walk around.

Your posture when you are working:
If you use the PC a lot, then try to rearrange your workstation so that the monitor and papers / files that you might be working on are at eye level, to avoid straining the back and neck. The screen should be centered if you use the computer for word processing functions. For data entry, the screen may be slightly off to one side provided the documents you will be working from are centered.

Your posture when you are chatting on the phone:
The temptation to free your hand by cradling your phone between your shoulder and your ear, and leaving it there indefinitely, is irresistible. However this way you can easily talk yourself into having a pain in the neck and even the upper back! If you must have your hands free when on the phone, then get onto a speakerphone or invest in a headset that gives you the mobility that you need.

Your posture when you are driving:
Many survey participants are most comfortable when their car seats are aligned so that their backs are at right angles with their thighs. This provides maximum driving comfort for most people. Also, keep the driver's seat as close as possible to the steering wheel. This will enable you to sit with your knees well aligned with your hips, and helps you do away with the strain that often comes from reaching out too far for the wheel. Using the armrest on the side of the door often helps.

Your posture when you are sleeping:

Sleeping on your stomach, though it's a position many people love, is the roughest on your back! If you can't break this habit, no matter how hard you try, then at least try to sleep without a pillow under your head. Put it under your stomach instead, in order to minimise arching your back. Sleep on a mattress that is comfortable and does not sag. The natural curves in your back and neck should be supported.

How exercises can help your back

Exercises strengthen and stretch the four basic sets of muscles that support the spine.

  • The abdominal muscles are responsible for contributing towards good posture, in maintaining proper vertebral alignment, and thereby protecting the back.
  • The abdominals assist the extensor muscles of the back, which run the length of the spine to maintain proper alignment of the vertebrae.
  • Trunk flexibility must be emphasised to maintain a maximum range of motion in the back.
  • The hip and butt muscles help support and govern the position of your back while you sit, stand, walk around and even lie down.

    When exercising don't over stress yourself. Go slow on yourself and don't make any vigorous or jerky movements. Take advice of your doctor before starting any exercise programme. Your exercise choices should match your level of fitness, age, time schedule and comfort level. Don't exercise if you are in pain-it will make matters worse.

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