Lower back pain may come from many sources, but the most common reason is an injury during work – lifting/carrying heavy loads or not taking good care of yourself after childbirth. The lower back consists of muscle, bone and connective and nerve tissues, all of which are made to withstand a limited physical load. When any of these are damaged, a lot of pain can result, and this can carry on for the rest of one's life, getting worse in old age because of natural bone deterioration. This article discusses three ways to prevent or improve back pain for the people most prone to it.
New mothers: Taking care of back and baby
A child may not seem heavy, but the weight piles up, considering that you're lifting or holding as many times a day as you do in the first three years of life. You can improve your chances by ensuring that you do not put excessive strain on your back in the first few months after childbirth (most critical) and for up to 1-3 years, depending on what you went through.
Naturally, you'll still have to do things for yourself and/or your family, and so you can employ these strategies:
Lifting – Place your feet a shoulder-width apart. Relax your back and bend your knees then lift using both arms and carry the child/load as close to your chest as you can.
Carrying – Instead of twisting your back when carrying, turn your hips to reduce the chances of back injury. Bend your knees to lower a load, not your back.
Holding – Avoid carrying the child on one hip, as this creates an imbalance that eventually causes back pain. Try to carry against your chest in an upright position.
Sitting/feeding – Sit on a chair with strong back support. Use pillows/blankets to position the baby close to your breasts, instead of leaning forward to reach him/her.
Everyone: Back-strengthening exercises
Exercises that focus on strengthening core muscles also improve how much strain your lower back can take when you need to work. Before embarking on an exercises regimen, check with a chiropractor to ensure you're doing the right exercises for your needs; some people need greater mobility while others need greater stability, for instance. New mothers especially need a tailored exercise regimen to prevent back injury. This is a list of good and bad exercises to improve your back muscles.
White-collar workers: Sitting on the job
Sitting may appear restful, but it actually injures your joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons over time, particularly around your lower back and neck. Being in sitting position may cause premature degeneration of spinal discs, resulting in tremendous pain. If you spend most of your day seated, you can reduce the effects of this by:
Taking frequent breaks – During the workday, get up to stretch and walk around.
Practising good posture – Your feet should be flat, back straight, shoulders squared and chin parallel to the floor. This helps to strengthen your core muscles.
Getting a good chair – Invest in an ergonomic chair that can be adjusted according to your height, supports your back in different positions, includes armrests and promotes good posture.
The most important tip for preserving your back, regardless of your work, is to stop when you feel tired, or you're unable to do something. Allow your muscles to rest by taking a break, getting help or finding an easier way to do whatever you want to do. Reach out to a chiropractor for more tips on keeping your back healthy.