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Health #TIPSthisWEEK with Jemima Goyol
Preventing Back Pain - Most back pains are due, at least in part, to excessive strain and weak or tense muscle, and there is much you can do to prevent them. More than half of all cases of back pain eventually recur, so it’s a good idea to consider the following prevention measures, especially if you are have a history of back problems:
Extra weight- A paunch (protruding stomach or pot-belly) can strain back muscles, distort posture, and overly compress the disks in the lower back. Not surprisingly, then, most obese people have chronic back problems. Excess weight, particularly if it has been recently gained, puts increased strain on back muscles and ligaments. Being pregnant can have a similar adverse effect because it alters your center of gravity.
Poor posture- It is important to learn and maintain good posture. Sitting and standing puts considerable pressure on the lower back, correct posture keeps the head and chest high, neck straight, pelvis forward, and stomach and buttock tucked in.
Footwear- With the proper cushioning and support, footwear can go a long way in preventing back pain. The features to choose in shoes are dependent upon an individual’s foot shape, gait style, and the chosen activity.
Sleeping- Don’t lie on your stomach, since that makes the stomach muscles sag and increase sway back. Instead, lie on your side with your knees bent to relieve pressure on the disks. For the same reason, if you lie on your back, keep your knees slightly bent by putting a pillow under them. For most people, the ideal mattress has firm inner support but adequate surface cushioning. If your mattress is too soft, insert a board under it.
Exercise- Regular exercise is vital to the health of your back. Calisthenics (exercises designed to promote general fitness) and stretching are routines that can help strengthen the back. In addition, low-impact activities like walking, swimming (but not the butterfly or breast stroke, which can put excessive strain on the lower back), and cycling (with an upright posture) are good for the back.
Lifting and carrying- Bending to pick up an object puts maximum strain on your back and is probably the No. 1 cause of backaches. When you lift, bend at the knees, not at the waist, making your leg muscle do most of the work, to pick up something heavy, squat with your legs apart, tighten your stomach muscle, keep your back straight, and hold the object close to your body, better yet, push a heavy object instead of lifting it. Pulling is more likely to injure your back. When carrying a heavy load, don’t arch your back or twist your body—try to let your arms and abdominal muscles bear the weight. Because a heavy purse or briefcase can pull your back out of alignment, alternate the load from side to side.
Dress- Prolonged use of tight pants and girdles may induce weak abdominal muscle and result in back trouble. Avoid high heels since they tend to increase the curvature of the back and increase the risk of a fall.