Back pain is an extremely common complaint. An estimated 80% of people in the UK are affected at some time in their lives.
It is also one of the main reasons for sickness absence. On daily average, about 1% of the working age population are on sickness absence due to a back problem. Nearly 5 million working days were lost through bad backs in 2003/04. On average each person affected took about 20 days off in that period. Most back pain is caused by strains and minor injury rather than serious injury and is often called “simple back pain“. Although the pain often comes suddenly and may be triggered by a particular movement, the causes may have been building for some time.
Some of the commonest causes of stress and strain on the spine are:
- On-going poor posture
- Slouching in chairs
- Driving in hunched positions
- Standing badly
- Lifting incorrectly
- Sleeping on sagging mattresses
Good Posture encourages your muscles, joints and ligaments to work as nature intended. Remember that many adults with chronic back pain can trace their problem to years of bad posture habits.
- Avoid slouching and stooping.
- To encourage good posture, try and think about the way you sit and stand.
- When standing for long periods of time, consider whether your shoulders are hunched; if so, stretch them back gently.
- Remember that placing pressure unevenly on one leg throws your spine’s curvature, which can make the shoulders and hips uneven.
Measures to Reduce Injuring Spine
- Avoid lifting and carrying heavy objects.
- Use a shallow trolley at the supermarket to avoid stooping and bending.
- Avoid spending long periods of time hunched over the computer.
- Adjust the car seat to provide you with support and a good position.
- Take breaks on a long journey; take time to stretch your spine and limbs.
- Gardening can be a good form of exercise but try not to get too hot or cold as this can increase body stress, due to excessive bending and twisting.
- Maintain a regular exercise programme. Walking and swimming can contribute to reducing back pain.
Activities and Exercises to improve Healthy Spine Muscle
- Strengthen the muscles that support your spine
- Improve balance and posture
- Counter the effects of depression
- Help you become more flexible and supple
- Improve circulation
- Help keep your weight under control
- Help you sleep better and be more alert mentally
- Improve your general level of fitness and stamina