Back pain can affect people of any age, for different reasons. As people get older, the chance of developing lower back pain increases, due to factors such as previous occupation and degenerative disk disease.Recent studies by the World Health Organization and the Archives of Internal Medicine suggest that workers who sit for long periods of time, as many as 6 hours a day, are 40 percent more likely of dying at any given point, of a variety of afflictions and diseases, than people who sit less.
Lower back pain may be linked to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, lower back muscles, abdominal and pelvic internal organs, and the skin around the lumbar area.
Pain in the upper back may be due to disorders of the aorta, tumors in the chest, and spine inflammation.
Activities that can lead to strains or spasms include:
How to sit correctly:
Push your hips as far back as they can go in the chair.
Keep your shoulders back and your back straight.
Adjust the seat height to fit your body.
Adjust the back of the chair to a 100°-110° reclined angle.
Make sure that your upper and lower back are supported.
Rest your feet on the floor
Stay as active as possible at work.
Take regulated breaks
Applying a hot compress or an ice pack to the painful area may reduce pain.
Resting from strenuous activity can help, but moving around will ease stiffness, reduce pain, and prevent muscles from weakening.
If home treatments do not relieve back pain, a doctor may recommend medication, physical therapy, or both.
Physical therapy: Applying heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation — as well as some muscle-release techniques to the back muscles and soft tissues — may help alleviate pain.
As the pain improves, the physical therapist may introduce some flexibility and strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles. Techniques for improving posture may also help.
Yoga involves specific poses, movements, and breathing exercises. Some may help strengthen the back muscles and improve posture. Care must be taken that exercises do not make back pain worse.
There are two main types of exercise that people can do to reduce the risk of back pain:
Smoking: A significantly higher percentage of smokers have back pain incidences compared to non-smokers of the same age, height, and weight.
Body weight: The weight people carry and where they carry it affects the risk of developing back pain.
Posture when standing: Make sure you have a neutral pelvic position. Stand upright, head facing forward, back straight, and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Keep your legs straight and your head in line with your spine.
Lifting: When lifting things, use your legs to do the lifting, rather than your back.
Do not lift and twist at the same time: If something is particularly heavy, see if you can lift it with someone else. While you are lifting keep looking straight ahead, not up or down, so that the back of your neck is like a continuous straight line from your spine.
Moving things: It is better for your back to push things across the floor, using your leg strength, rather than pulling them.
Shoes: Flat shoes place less of a strain on the back.
Driving: It is important to have proper support for your back. Make sure the wing mirrors are properly positioned so you do not need to twist. The pedals should be squarely in front of your feet. If you are on a long journey, have plenty of breaks. Get out of the car and walk around.
Bed: You should have a mattress that keeps your spine straight, while at the same time supporting the weight of your shoulders and buttocks. Use a pillow, but not one that forces your neck into a steep angle.
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