Back to basics
Back pain affects everyone at some time in their life. It may be an isolated incident, as when you hurt your back during sports or exercise; unfortunately for many people, back pain is a chronic illness. Some common causes of back pain are nerve and muscular problems, herniated disc and arthritis. Back pain may also be stress related, however in many instances, chronic back pain may be due to bad posture and faulty body mechanics.
If you start suffering from back pain, your first recourse is to see your doctor. Depending on what is causing your pain, he/she may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or recommend physical therapy. Your physical therapist will assess your situation and the causes of your back pain. He/she will then treat your pain with either ultrasound or massage and advise you on ways to modify your work and leisure performance to eliminate the pain.
If you do a desk job, poor posture may be a direct cause of back pain. Many people work at a desk that is not the right height, or they may slouch for hours at their desk, causing back, neck and shoulder pain. Your physical therapist can help you make some simple modifications that will lead to a more comfortable work experience. The way you sleep and the type of mattress you sleep on can also cause back pain. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees is good. When buying a mattress, seek good advice.
Lifting, pulling and pushing also contribute to back pain. You should lift through your knees, not with your back. When lifting, you should bend at your knees, keeping your back straight and vertical. Hold the load close to your body and pivot as you turn. Do not twist at the waist. If the weight is too heavy, ask for help.
Finally, watch your weight. Obesity is a major contributor of back pain, as it puts strain on the lower back which has to take the weight of the body. Losing weight and getting rid of belly fat can be a big plus in eliminating back pain. So, tighten your abs and strengthen your back.
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