Ways To A Healthy Back

Learn how you can have a healthy bakc! Many people suffer from backache and spinal problems. A better back starts with recognising the problem and what causes it.

Back trouble is the largest single cause of lost working days and up to 75% of the population will suffer from back problems at some time in their life. Most people suffering from back pain will recover completely within four weeks but one in every five hundred back sufferers becomes severely disabled.

There are, essentially, three conditions which are most common though there are many more problems which are classified under the general heading of backache.

The first is backache caused by problems with the spongy tissue situated between the vertebrae of the spinal column. These are the discs and they cushion the effects of sudden movement and enable the vertebrae to move without grating against one another.

If one of these discs moves out of its position within the vertebral column, the nerves can be compacted and that is where the pain comes from. This pain can be felt throughout the lower back, buttocks and even in the legs if the sciatic nerve is the one affected. Disc problems can be sured but may almost certainly require physiotherapy and, as many as 10 per cent of sufferers will need some kind of surgery.

Osteoarthritis is the second major cause of back pain and, whereas the "˜slipped' disc problem is more prevalent amongst those aged 20 to 40, osteoarthritis is the cause in older patients it being due to war and tear on the discs. Pain, from this condition, is almost constant. Relief from arthritis can be obtained with anti inflammatories such as aspirin and gentle exercise or physiotherapy can sometimes help to ease the pain.

The last of the "˜big three' back problems is muscular back pain and this will often follow some specific activity such as moving furniture of heavy housework or gardening. In the most severe forms the muscles can go into spasm and lock the sufferer in one position. This type of back problem is usually recurrent and not easy to treat. Painkillers will sometimes work and there are new drugs available now which are specifically for this type of back pain and are very effective.

Many backache and spinal problems stem from poor posture and can be prevented by the use of a few simple techniques. A slumped posture is typified by a forward bent neck which, in turn causes the chest to cave in and the spine to curve. The posture results in slack abdominal muscles and a hanging stomach and then the whole trunk curves to compensate for the imbalance. All of this leads to a tilt in the pelvis which causes excess curvature of the spine and all that follows from that.

A totally rigid posture is no better than a slumped posture and it brings its own set of potential problems. Shoulders that are pulled back cause the chest to be thrown out and this inhibits flexibility and breathing. If the pelvis is not horizontal and is tipped up or down, it throws the spine into dis-alignment. Rigid knees which are pushed back can cause swayback and taut thighs can give rise to a flat and rigid back.

There are simple things that can be done to help have a better back and avoid the excruciating and debilitating pain that comes from back problems.

1. Check you body, daily, in a full length mirror and find your posture faults.

2. Take 10 minutes each day to practice realignment.

3. If you work at a desk, make sure yo are in a comfortable working position and do not sit in one position for too long.

4. Try to avoid frequent heavy lifting. If this is part of your job seek professional help for advice about back strengthening exercises.

5. Take regular exercise. One of the best forms of exercise, for overcoming back problems, is swimming.

6. Keep your weight down to the acceptable limits for your height. Excess weight puts a lot of additional strain on the back.

7. For women, high heeled shoes can be a major contributor to back ache.

8. Do not smoke. There is a well documented relationship between the frequency of back troubles and smoking.

9. If the pain is severe or chronic and long lasting, always consult your physician. Delay in doing so can result in the problem getting worse.

10. If you are lifting then make sure you do so properly using the knees and not the back

11. Stand rather that sit. The pressure on the back from sitting is more than two and a half Times greater when sitting rather than standing and a huge ten times more when sitting rather than lying down.

12. Women can sometimes prevent osteoarthritis by Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Which helps to improve bone density.

There is no way to guarantee that you will not suffer back pain at some time in your life but attention to your posture, and an awareness of the points specified above, will help to reduce the incidence and severity of back related pain.

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