Look who's 'back'
Uhh.. My aching BACK! God, get me rid of this. I want to get back to my old life.
Have you experienced back pain? Is it affecting your daily life and restricting your movements and actions?
Well, it is known to affect 8 out of 10 people. It is next only to common cold and headache. Back pain is the second most common reason for people all over the world to see a doctor. It goes away easily with simple treatment only to return back with a vengeance in 7 out of 10 cases.
Since it affects a large population it leads to decrease workplace productivity and is a leading cause of sickness absenteeism. Therefore, it is best to acquire sound knowledge about back ache and what causes it to prevent the occurrence of this disease.
Let us begin with understanding the ‘Design of your Back’
Your BACK is a specialized stretched designed with great precision and accuracy. It is a family of bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and nerves. They all join hands together to form a good flexible back. 33 bones are arranged in a stack like column. The back muscles and ligaments hold your spine erect. A healthy balanced spine is shaped like an S-curve, one curve in the neck area and one curve in the lower back. Too large or too little curves in these areas make the spine weaker and less stable.
Did you know?
- 60% of life is spent sitting
- Sitting is more stressful than standing because pressure on the disk is increased by 11 times while pressure during standing is increased by 3 times
- Lying down produces the least stress
- Disk can withstand pressure up to 1000kg but in case of injury, it cannot repair itself
- Disk is self-lubricating, blood supply to it stops at 20 years of age and later it depends on your daily activities like spinal exercise, jogging, etc. to lubricate itself
You could be damaging your spine and welcoming back ache if you..
Stand awkwardly, hunch over the tables, walk gawky, while driving you slump in your car seats, consistently watch at your mobile phone with your neck bend downwards, glue yourself at the work desk, and sit awkwardly in your two-wheelers. It is tragic that with every passing minute you are unwittingly spelling doom to your back.
In an effort to maintain the improper postures adopted by you, numbers of back muscles are brought into action. This leads to early fatigue of these muscles, which ultimately puts more strain and stress on your bones, disks, joints, and ligaments. This imbalance wears down the structure of your healthy back and sows the seeds for future back ache.
Other factors burdening your back..
There are some factors that are not in your control like the roads ridden with pot holes, humps, bumps, poor working conditions, poorly designed chairs, overcrowded buses, trains, etc. make matters worse for your back. As if this is not enough you seldom exercise and keep yourself fit.
Do you exercise to keep your back healthy? A very few people do that and the reason is quite obvious that you are stuck in the drudgery routine of your life. If you are obese and pot bellied, this puts an additional burden on your already troubled back by distorting the S-curve shape.
Now imagine the fate of your back when the inevitable effects of aging are clubbed with the factors mentioned above. As your back ages, the bones become soft and brittle, the disk loses water and dries up and breaks, the ligaments lose their elasticity, the muscles are less flexible and the joints are worn out.
I hope, now you realize that the backache you experience is not a single day’s affair but it is the end result of the sins of the aging, poor posture, lack of exercise, obesity, poor environmental and working condition, and bad roads.
Few tips to keep your back and spine healthy
- Always stretch before exercise.
- Don’t slouch when standing or sitting.
- Sit in a chair with good lumbar support. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of the back can provide some lumbar support. During prolonged periods of sitting, elevate feet on a low stool.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
- Sleeping in a baby or fetal position is by far the healthiest option for most people as it doesn’t put extra pressure on your head, neck, and spine. Do not sleep on a soft surface.
- Don’t try to lift heavy objects all alone. Always ask for assistance.
- Maintain excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that taxes your lower back muscles.
- Quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to your lower spine, which can contribute to spinal disc degeneration.