Don’t Take Back Pain Sitting Down

(AVWA9NCMFXZA) Back pain is one of the most painful ailments out there. Unfortunately, almost 80% of Americans have to deal with it at some time in their life, and every year 15% of all American adults receive treatment for lumbar pain, herniated discs or spinal stenosis. If you’re prone to back problems, or you want to avoid them, then what should you do?

For starters, you should start listening to your mother. Remember when she told you to sit up straight and stop slouching? It turns out, she knew what she was talking about. Bad posture not only makes you look fatter, it can take a toll on your muscle tone and can result in shallow breathing, which can cause tension and anxiety. Maintaining good posture will help combat these issues and can also keep you from developing back and neck pain.

In addition to developing better posture habits, you may want to perform exercises designed to strengthen your core muscles. According to Dr. Daniel Mazanec, associate director of the Center for Spine Health at the Cleveland Clinic, “The majority of back pain is the result of muscle and ligament strain or weakness, and can often be prevented by developing core strength and proper posture,”

Of course, some back problems simply cannot be avoided. As we age, our vertebrae begin to degenerate. And those of us who work at a desk spend a significant portion of our days in a sedentary position. For us, the experts suggest some good old fashioned DIY preventative back care.

If you spend your workday in a cubicle or a desk, make sure that your work area is conductive to maintaining proper posture. Your chair, desk, computer monitor and keyboard should be placed in the proper area to keep you from slouching or reaching too far. Your computer screen needs to be around eye level. Your feet should be flat on the floor while your back is against the chair. If you’re dealing with lower back pain, roll up a towel and place it between the back of your chair and the curve of your lower spine. This will help keep your spine in its natural curve, and will help keep your shoulders where they should be.

Try to get up and move around every hour or so. Sitting still for a long period of time can cause pressure on your back and make your muscles tired. A good stretch will also help break up a slouch before you get too comfortable. You don’t need to spend a long time doing this, a minute or two of stretching your back and your shoulders should be sufficient.

It really doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep your back in good shape, and the payoff is incredible. A life relatively free of back pain is worth the few minutes a day of effort. 

Story credit: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/health/25consumer.html?_r=0

Photo credit: http://www.americanhealthjournal.com/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-back-pain/

http://www.floridahospital.com/blog/stop-slouching-importance-proper-posture-work