If there is any good news about back pain, it is that you don’t suffer alone. Some estimates say that 80% of us will suffer back pain at some point in our lives. As many as one in five Canadians have taken time off work due to back pain.
So is back pain so common that we just resign ourselves to a life of pain and discomfort? Yes and no. Back pain is so common that it might seem unavoidable. But acute and chronic back pain is very often attributable to weak supporting muscles, poor posture and improper lifting, which are all preventable.
The following tips will help you reduce or avoid back pain:
Contrary to what most of us think, a sore back benefits from safe motion. Instead of lying on a “hard, flat surface”, try going for a walk or stretch a little. Try to change up your activities and avoid repetitive movements. The extra activity not only helps your back, but it helps your muscles support your back and prevent future bouts of pain.
2. Keep Your Back in Mind
Especially if you sit at a desk all day, it is important to keep your back in mind and take steps to avoid situations that can lead to pain and soreness. Shift your sitting position often and try to keep your back straight. Stand up and walk around at least every hour, if not more often.
3. Hold Your Head High
Your head weighs 10 lbs. Leveraged by your neck, that weight can multiply itself exponentially. For example, tilting your head forward just 15%, like when you are looking at your smartphone, puts 27 lbs. of strain on your upper back. Try to keep your neck vertical as much as possible.
4. More than Proper Lifting
Most of us know to keep our backs straight and use our legs when lifting heavy weights. But the same is true for just about any lifting. Also, you should limit the amount of time you spend in a bent-over position, like when you are loading or organizing a car’s trunk.
Considering it affects just about every move you make, it pays to do everything you can to reduce back pain.