Back pain is one of the most common complaints seen by a Physiotherapist. In order to maintain a healthy back, you can use the following tips:
1. Practice curve reversal frequently in daily activities
2. Maintain Good Spinal Mobility
- Stretch the stiff movement(s) 5 x per day, 10 x each to regain a good degree of flexibility. You should just feel a stretch…DO NOT CAUSE PAIN!!
3. Pay attention to your spinal posture in daily life. Especially sitting posture:
- Avoid very soft chairs or sofas
- Keep the lumbar curve of your back well supported
- Try not to cross your legs at the knees, cross at the ankles
4. After heavy physical work, do not sit down to rest, lie down instead
5. If your lifestyle is sedentary, increase your general activity level
6. Use good lifting techniques:
- Stretch backwards before and after the lift
- Maintain a straight back when bending to lift (stick your bottom out) and brace your back and abdominal muscles
7. Draw in your lower abdominals by pulling the lower part of your tummy in below your belly button:
- Do this frequently throughout the day when you are sitting, standing, walking, bending and lifting
- These muscles will help to stabilise and protect your spine from the many stresses of daily living
8. Recognise your early warning signs of back strain
- Stiffness after sitting, or first thing in the morning
- Occasional minor twinges
- Feeling as if you’ve pulled a muscle
9. When early warning signs are present, start self-treating for 24hrs
- Reduce the amount of sitting that you are currently doing
- When sitting, make sure that your low back is supported
- Do not sit longer that 5-10 minutes without getting up and moving around
- Commence the exercises that helped previously.
- Do sets of 10-15 repetitions every 1-2 hours
If you are no better after 24 hours, or you think you are getting worse, please call your closest Core Physiotherapy for advice.
Acknowledgement : Compiled by Nicole Brammy (Physiotherapist), from guidelines promoted by the McKenzie Institute International, and Beverly Dalziel(Physiotherapist), July, 1995.
This was written by Nick Lagos.