Back pain is one if not the most common complaint we as osteopath see. Low back pain is especially common with nearly 1 in 10 people suffering from it and increases the older we are. The likelihood is someone you know or you yourself will suffer from back pain to varying degrees at some point in your life.
This week it is Back Care Awareness Week from the 8th of October to the 12th.
Here are our top tips to help prevent back pain.
1. Movement. Exercise is one of the best preventative measures you can take to reducing not only the risk of back pain but also a huge number of conditions. Walking, swimming and cycling are all great forms of exercise.
2. Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Obesity, and poor diet can lead to muscle fatigue and added stress to be put on the back.
3. Lift correctly! Lifting from a squat position with knees bent and hips rather than bending from your back minimised the risk of injury.
4. Use both straps when carrying heavy rucksacks. Dump the sling/single strap bags!
5. Desk set up. Avoid slumping and hunching over laptops. Set your desk up, if possible, with a separate mouse and keyboard. The top of your screen should be at eye level. An adjustable chair (with adjustable arm rests) will allow you to use the support of the chair.
6. Take breaks from sitting. Get up and walk around for a minute or two at least, every 30 minutes.
7. Change your mattress if is showing signs or wear or is over 8-10 years old. Make sure you are getting the correct support from your mattress as well as your pillow to suit the sleeping position you adopt!
8. Get stronger and more mobile. Strengthening your core (abdominal) muscles will help you maintain a good posture. Pilates is a brilliant form of exercise to help you do this!
Yoga is fantastic at helping improve hip and upper back mobility which both will help take stress of your lower back.
Callum Watson M Ost
The Harrison Clinic