Given I am a Physiotherapist,I am often inundated with queries regarding LBP(low back pain).It’s impossible to diagnose over a call or an email and tell the treatment.There are different types of LBP and the treatment varies with it too.So, I thought of penning down some general precautions for back pain.
A little Introduction to Spine-It is made of small bones called vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and intervertebral disks.It has three curves.The upper (cervical) and lower (lumbar) portions both have a lordotic or c-shaped curve. The middle (thoracic) segment has a kyphotic or reverse c-shaped curve.The cervical spine is in the neck and consists of 7 vertebrae.The second part of the spine is the thoracic spine which consists of 12 vertebrae all of which have ribs attached. The third and lowest portion of the spine is the lumbar spine which consists of 5 vertebrae. The lumbar spine attaches to the sacrum which is part of the pelvis.The movements possible are forward bending (flexion), backward bending (extension) lateral or side bending and rotation or twisting movements.
Structurally backache is a condition that usually is caused when any of these structures( muscles, cartilage, ligaments,bones or spinal cord) get affected.The most common causes are lifting heavy weight and a faulty posture.Correct posture can be simply defined as the position in which minimum stress is applied to each joint.In contrast,any posture that increases stress to a given articulation may be considered faulty.By taking some simple precautions in our day-to-day life we can avoid back injuries and in turn back pain.
In this post ,I am just going to talk about some precautions which everyone should take with or without LBP.
1)DO NOT bend forwards.Bending forward does no good to anyone.It might twist your spine for all you know.So whenever you need to bend and pick up something,bend your knees first and not your back and pick up.A slipped disk (also called a herniated disk) happens when a disk between the bones of the spine bulges and presses on nerves,this is often caused by twisting while lifting.Hence,kep your back straight and bend at your knees.
2)DO NOT bend over to lift anything heavy off the ground with knees straight.Lift heavy items with your legs, not your back.
3)Do NOT maintain any one position for a prolonged period.If you have been sitting for an hour,take a break walk for sometime and then continue with your work. Same applies if you have been standing for a prolonged time,take a break and sit for sometime.Stretch your muscles and relax.The best way to stand for a prolonged time is the hotel bar position: one foot on the ground and the other foot on the brass rail, when rail is not available use any raised platform.Every 5 to 15 minutes, switch the foot you’re resting on the stool.
4)DO not arch your back while exercising,watching TV,standing or sitting on a chair.Keep it upright.Avoid crouching postures.
4)DO NOT move anything heavy by pulling it in front of you.Always push and never pull.
5)DO NOT sit with crossed legs,sit with knees slightly higher than the hips.Keep your feet on the foot rest.
6)DO NOT sit with hands hanging by your side.Keep your hands on the armrest while sitting on a chair.Turn by moving your whole body rather than by twisting at your waist.
7)DO NOT arch your back while getting up from sitting position.Move to the front of the chair take the support of the chair and then stand up to prevent arching of the back.
8)DO NOT sleep on a soft mattress.“A mattress shouldn’t be too hard or too soft”.A soft mattress may cause the back to collapse in healthy people when you lie on it. When the back is collapsed, the lungs are not able to take in as much oxygen, which can prevent you from getting good sleep.Sleep on your side with hips and knees bend and a pillow between the legs.
9)DO NOT lift heavy objects overhead or reach out for overhead objects as it twists the spine and an imbalanced spine might cause injury.
10)DO NOT carry heavy objects.Ask for help.Distribute the weight.Take two smaller bags rather than one heavier big.Hold objects as close to the body as possible.
Stay healthy, Being overweight adds stress on your lower back.Always wear comfortable shoes.Avoid sudden twisting and turning movements of spine.Keep your abdominal and back muscles strong and please see a physiotherapist or orthopaedician when you get back pain,numbness, weakness, or tingling in legs rather than waiting for it to disappear miraculously and making it worse.
These precautions can make your life a lot easier and healthier than you can ever imagine.Stay healthy and fit!!
Happy Doctor’s Day!!