How To Avoid Having A Bad Back
Most of us have experienced backache at some time. This is hardly surprising.
The spine has to support most of the body's weight and very frequently also bears the abuse imposed by bad posture and the thoughtless body movements that are part of our daily activities.
Bad posture when sitting, standing, walking or lifting heavy objects can eventually take its toll on us both mentally and physically. Continual bad posture leads to pressure on the nerves, ligaments, muscles and discs of the spine. This, in turn, leads to increased fatigue, muscular strain, stiff neck, nervous tension, backache and general body pain. It may also cause displacement and subsequent malfunctioning of internal organs.
If you are overweight your back is under constant strain, especially at its base. Carrying a couple of extra stone around is a steady minor abuse of the back which can eventually lead to disabling back pain.
Pregnancy presents a similar problem. By adding an extra weight it can give temporary posture problems. Don't worry unnecessarily, but make sure that when the baby is born you go back to your old upright posture without too much hollow in the back.
Sometimes repeated stressing affects the spine itself. The spinal column consists of 24 separate movable vertebrae (bones). Between each of these vertebra is a cushioning pad of cartilage which is known as the vertebral disc. These discs, each of which has a soft core, act as shock absorbers when you are walking, running or jumping. Any unusual or sudden strain on the back may cause one of these soft cores to protrude slightly beyond the edges of the vertebrae above and below, resulting in the painful condition called "slipped disc".
Good posture, coupled with regular exercise, will help to maintain a strong, supple, mobile back. If you exercise your back there is a good chance that you won't damage it by the way you type or drive. Walking, swimming, cycling and yoga are all good exercises.
Good posture is an important part of our total health. It is something that we can all improve, ourselves, without any special equipment or drugs. A good posture is one which gives the body easy balance and poise; is aesthetically pleasing; enables the muscles to work to the best advantage and in harmony with each other; and provides the internal organs with room in which to work.
Good posture applies to moving or sitting as well as standing. In all activities the same principles apply: balance, minimal muscle-work, room for internal organs and proper weight distribution.
There are certain things you can do to help your posture and prevent backache:
Whenever you are standing, try to adopt a correct posture. Do this by consciously pulling in your stomach.
If you are working at a bench it should be at hip level or higher.
Choose seats that allow your feet to rest on the ground and support your thighs along the whole length.
When sitting, put your bottom right to the back of the chair.
Try to limit the length of time you sit in any one position: if driving, get out of the car at least every 90 minutes.
When lifting, keep your back straight. If you can't, think again about the lift. To lift an object, put your feet as close as possible to it, one on either side if possible. Bend your knees and lift by straightening your legs. Remember that holding the breath while lifting a heavy weight puts a strain on the heart. This should be remembered by older people and those with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Curing a bad back is very difficult. If you don't take care of your back you may be letting yourself in for years of pain or discomfort. It is worth making the effort now.
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