Everyday things we do that lead to back injuries
Back pain or injuries usually occur when too much pressure it put on the back structures including the discs, the muscles and ligaments. Too much pressure on these structures can occur several ways:
- Lifting a big load in a bent and or twisted position. A big load can mean something different for everyone and depends on how strong you are. Generally, anything over 15kg requires assistance from another person or a mechanical lifting device.
- Lifting or bending forward multiple times throughout a day. This can overload and fatigue the back-supporting muscles which then fail to be able to do their protective stabilising job as they are too tired.
- A long sustained forward bend of the back such as sitting for hours in a car, at the computer, bent forward washing dishes or cleaning or over a bench. The longer you are bent forward in a sustained position, the greater the build-up of pressure within the lumbar discs and the structures supporting the back.
When your back is in a forward position the back muscles are vulnerable and it is difficult for them to support your spine. Keeping your back in a neutral position where the lumbar spine is in a slightly arched is the best position for it when lifting and sitting.
Additionally, our backs are most vulnerable after a period of rest. After getting up from a position of rest such as sitting for a while or getting out of bed in the morning, try to avoid forward bending of your back for at least the first 30 minutes.
Six ways to help prevent lower back pain
- A rolled-up towel or small lumbar roll helps to maintain a good lower back position when you are sitting for prolonged periods such as in the car or watching TV
- Squatting and bending at the hips instead of bending forward at the lumbar spine is important to protect your back and give you ways to change how you move
- Reduce the number of times you bend forward each day. For instance, keep your shoes in a higher position rather than on the floor. In fact, counting how many times you do bend over in a day is a worthwhile activity. You may be surprised how often you do bend forward
- Try to avoid forward bending of your back for at least the first 30 minutes after you get up in the morning
- Protect your back each time you go to lift by bracing. This activates the muscles around your back and abdomen that protect and stabilize your back
- Stretching regularly at the hips: If your hips are stiff and the muscles around them are tight, they will not move well. Instead of moving properly at the hip joints when you move such as with walking, you will accommodate by moving more at the lumbar spine. This puts the lumbar spine a under a lot of pressure and often can lead to back pain. Keeping the hips free and moving well is one way of helping back pain and prevent it from recurring
If you suffer from lower back pain try introducing these preventative measures. Let us know if they work for you, Deb.