Monday, March 15th, 2010

Bye Bye Backache

backacheThe human back is an amazing mechanical device. It is strong enough to support our entire body yet supple and flexible enough to allow freedom of movement. The lower back is the hinge between the upper and lower parts of the body and it has to cope with the weight of the upper body in all its movements. Our modern lifestyle puts unnatural demands on our backs, such as sitting for long periods, long distance commute. Along with the injuries we collect through life, and the time which goes by, changes occur in the structures of the back which contribute to pain problems. Around 85% of all people have back pain at some time in their lives. When we are lifting, reaching, bending or twisting, large forces are transmitted through the back. Back pain is thought to be caused by a combination of injury, time, overdoing, and overstrain to the discs, muscles and ligaments of the spine. Back pain isn’t just about heavy lifting or sleeping the wrong way, lack of regular exercise, erratic eating habits and wrong postures are few major predisposing factors leading to back pain.
Here are few common causes for poor posture contributing to back pain and their solution-

• Work–Whether the job is at a desk, performing manual labor, traveling long distances, or performing surgery, it all takes its toll on our bodies. We have a tendency to tighten up into positions which we are regularly in and this eventually causes a breakdown somewhere along that chain.
During work you are chained to your desk. Sitting puts 40% more pressure on your back and maintaining proper posture is probably the last thing you’re thinking about when under a major work deadline. Sitting at a 135-degree angle can reduce compression of the discs in the spine, so lean back slightly every now and then. Do it when you take a phone call or a co-worker stops by to chat. Make sure your office chair supports the curve of your spine. Your lower back should be supported, and your head should be straight—not lurching forward—when you look at your computer screen. Get up and walk around for a couple of minutes every half hour—take trips to get water, use the bathroom or grab papers off the printer.

• Forgetfulness–Let’s face it, the main reason most people cannot maintain good posture is forgetfulness. Unless someone is in pain and is able to use that as their reminder, people just do not think of it often enough.
Use a Reminder, pick something that you think of regularly during the day–your spouse, your children, driving, every time the phone rings–and use that as your “alarm clock” to remind yourself to correct your posture. The more often good posture is practiced, the easier it is to maintain, the more natural and comfortable it feels–and it makes up for the times which you forget.

• Driving– You have a long commute. Just like at your desk, hunching over a steering wheel can tighten chest muscles and cause your shoulders to round.
“Be sure you sit at a 90-degree angle, close to the wheel so you don’t have to stretch,”. “Extending your leg puts your back in a compromised position, but many people don’t even realize they’re doing it.”

• Deconditioned–With today’s hectic world and pace, people have been finding it increasingly difficult to maintain some form of regular exercise. This not only prevents the release of the much needed stress-relieving endorphins, but it also contributes to weakening of the muscles, bones and joints of the body and reducing the amount of good synovial fluid into the intervertebral discs.

- Back Pain can also happen because of Spinal problems like – slipped discs, herniated discs or any other spinal disorders.

Prevention – better than cure.


Exercise – the most effective way of staying away from several reasons contributing to back pain. You are only as good in your personal and professional life as you feel. When the body does not get some form of regular exercise or activity, things just do not work as well. You never let your car go much more then a few days without running it, so why should you think that the body is any different. Any combination of home exercise programs, pool workouts, outdoor exercise, gym routines, yoga, or Pilates will work. Just make it consistent.




Dr. Neha Jain, Deptt of Physiotherapy
Doctor Kares Hospital, Gurgaon.

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Category: Pain Forum
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