Happy Healthy Wednesday,
As a Whole Person Doctor one of the most common statements I hear is ” My Back Hurts ” Today more than ever we spend a lot of our day / night in a flexed hunched over position. We sit rounded over for work, we slump in front of the TV and a lot of us even sleep in the fetal position. Overtime it can take a toll on your back. What is even more alarming is that I seeing younger and younger patients with old person postures! Please enjoy this article and please also spend a little time each day strengthening and stretching your back.
Soak up the rest of the summer.
“ My Back Hurts”
6 tips that can help
Dr Pia Martin DC CCN
You never know until you hurt it how much you use your lower back.
When your lower back is injured, every movement becomes painful. Simple actions, such as getting out of a chair or bending over the sink, become excruciating, and your daily routine becomes difficult and frustrating.
Back pain affects 60 to 80 percent of U.S. adults at some time during their lives, and up to 50 percent have back pain within a given year.
Back pain has many different causes, ranging from a trauma, an imbalance of repetitive movements, chemical stress from toxicity, organ damage, or emotional stressors that cause muscle tension etc however the most common cause is a sedentary lifestyle. We are spending most of our time sitting in a flexed hunched position, either at work in front of a computer, watching TV etc at home or driving in a car.
Most mechanical lower back pain is associated with tight leg muscles and weak abdominal muscles. Leg muscles need to be stretched and abdominal muscles need to be strengthened to avoid recurrences of lower back pain. Most people are generally not aware of these relationships.
Abdominal strengthening not only helps keep your lower back healthy, but also helps maintain good posture. Postural benefits include an easy, relaxed gait; muscles that are long and supple, rather than short and tight; and an open chest that allows for easy, smooth breathing. Your body is a machine. Everything’s connected.
The spine is a complete unit and therefore a lower back problem can affect other areas of the body, however there are things you can do to help keep your back healthy.
1. Stay fit
Weak back and abdominal muscles — due to de-conditioning or age exacerbate many cases of low back pain. That’s why stretching and strengthening both your back and abdominal muscles is important not only for treating low back pain, but also for helping to prevent a recurrence of the problem.
Stretching is a valuable component of any treatment plan for a person plagued by back problems. Most experts believe that supple, well-stretched muscles are less prone to injury. Indeed, shorter, less flexible muscle and connective tissues restrict joint mobility, which increases the likelihood of sprains and strains.
A stretching and strengthening regimen should target the back, abdominal, and buttock muscles.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
The heavier you are, the greater the load your spine must carry. To make matters worse, if the bulk of your weight comes in the form of abdominal fat, rather than muscle, your center of gravity can shift forward — a condition that puts added pressure on your back.
Notice when you are experiencing a stressful moment and how the whole body tightens. Take a deep breath or two to relieve tension. We hide a lot of emotional pain in our bodies.
4. Quit the habit
First, nicotine hampers the flow of blood to the vertebrae and disks. This impairs their function and may trigger a bout of back pain. Second, smokers tend to lose bone faster than nonsmokers, putting them at greater risk for osteoporosis, another common cause of back pain.
5. Be less of a Turtle
We are carrying our lives on our backs and shoulders. Backpacks brief cases, extra large duffels and purses have become ubiquitous — at school
, at work, at play.
, at work, at play.
For school kids opt for backpacks that have different-sized compartments to help distribute weight evenly. And look for wide, padded straps and a padded back. For very heavy loads, use a case with wheels.
6. Develop back-healthy habits
• Don’t remain sitting or standing in the same position for too long. Stretch, shift your position, or take a short walk when you can.
• Use you legs and hips when lifting a heavy object
• Ensure that your workstation at work is ergonomically sound.
Last but no least there are great practitioners out there than can help you improve the health of your back. They range from Chiropractors, Nutritionists, Acupuncturists, Massage Therapists, Fitness Trainers, Yoga Teachers etc. You do not have to suffer but you do need to take action.