Chances are pretty good you and the person next to you have
something in common: back pain. According to the National Institutes
of Health, 8 out of 10 people will at some point suffer back pain
that hinders their work, daily living, and leisure activities.
Acute injuries lasting a few days or weeks most likely stem from
traumas such as falls, sports injuries, strains from working around
the house, or automobile accidents. The pain becomes chronic if it
stays around longer than three months. Seek medical attention as
soon as possible after an injury, and you can minimize the time it
takes to return to your normal routine.
Here are five tips to help prevent back pain
1. Always carry packages close to your body. Carrying packages
close to your body prevents unnecessary strain on you low back.
Always test how heavy a box or bag is before lifting. When in doubt,
ask for help!
2. Clean out your purse/wallet frequently. I went purse shopping
yesterday, and, quite frankly, I was amazed that most purses were
the size of brief cases! Carry only what you truly need in your
purse. If it is too heavy, the weight can promote a postural
imbalance. As for wallets in you back pocket, keep them cleaned out
too. A bulging wallet can push your pelvis out of balance when you
sit, with one hip higher than the other. When driving long
distances, try putting your wallet in the glove compartment.
3. Get up from your desk every half hour and stretch. Most of us
bring a strong work ethic to our jobs, where we often face recurring
deadlines and a demand for high productivity. By putting your own
needs on the back burner, however, you take a toll on your body,
physically and emotionally. A daily stretching routine-right at your
desk-can reduce stress, improve your posture, and even ease back
pain. You don't need expensive equipment, and you don't need a
substantial block of time. There's always time to sneak in a stretch
or two-no matter where you are.
4. Sit with proper posture. Some of my clients sit with their
legs curled under them, some sit with their legs crossed, and some
sit with their heads pushed forward because they work at a computer.
Each of these postures can lead to back problems. If you make your
living sitting down-either at a desk or behind a steering wheel-try
using a low back support pillow in your chair or seat. It's also
important to keep your feet flat on the floor when you're seated.
And, finally, low heels are better for you back than high heels.
5. Get regular back care from your healthcare providers. Do
receive regular care from your healthcare team, which may include
orthopedic, osteopathic, or chiropractic physicians as well as
physical, occupational and massage therapists. Athletic trainers are
also great members of your back healthcare team.
About the Author:
Lisa has been helping people overcome pain and injury for more than
Lisa has been helping people overcome pain and injury for more
than two decades as a licensed occupational therapist,
licensed massage therapist and teacher. In her 20-plus-year
occupational therapy career, she has held a variety of
positions as therapist, therapy supervisor and therapy
instructor. She has experience in geriatric care and has
practiced in home and outpatient as well as clinical settings.
Lisa received a bachelor of science in occupational therapy
from the University of Kansas in 1985. She graduated from the
Center of Rehabilitation Education massage program in
Knoxville in 2005.
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