10 Steps to a Healthy Back

Look after your back in these 10 basic steps to a healthy back.

You may never want to ignore the small, insignificant aching of your back as compared to your extremely busy lifestyle again.

Backaches accompanied by other symptoms like fever or weakness of legs may also be a sign of other health problems. People used to think that backaches aren't serious enough to make a visit to the doctor's but times are changing. People are starting to consult professional help over problems with their backs.

10 Steps To a Healthy Back

  1. Start exercising

  2. Muscles become weak if they are not used and weakened muscles do not give sufficient support to your backs.

    This would make bad backs worse. A person who is fit through exercise also helps the body weather against the strain of a sedentary work-life.

    Exercises focusing on core muscles such as Pilates and yoga help promote good backs.

  3. Stretch

  4. Stretch. Stretch when you get out of bed. Bend from side to side, stretch your arms over your head, bend to touch your toes and turn your head from side to side.

  5. Stop sitting around

  6. If you're in pain, lie down with a pillow under your knees. If you spend your day at a computer, get up regularly to walk around. Take breaks by alternative tasks such as photocopying, signing checks, filing, making phone calls etc. You may do some ergonomic exercises to help with this too.

  7. Avoid lifting heavy objects

  8. You should avoid lifting objects more than 20 kilograms. If you must, bend your knees and lift with your legs, not with your back. If you have a bad back, you are advised to get help. See how to lift correctly.

  9. Relax

  10. Stress will go straight to your back, if that's your weakest point.

  11. Use ice

  12. The way our body reacts to injury is by sending blood rushing to that area, causing pain and swelling. Ice will help reduce pain and swelling.

  13. Cut down on red meat

  14. Red meat contains uric acid which can cause joint inflammation and aggravate back pain, so stick to fish as your main source of protein.

  15. Avoid taking strong painkillers which can mask the problem

  16. The drugs don't necessarily work and they may just make it worse. Try to avoid taking strong painkillers which can mask the problem - you may do yourself further damage without realizing it. If the pain is bad, take aspirin or ibuprofen, both of which acts as an anti-inflammatory painkiller.

  17. Stock up on supplements

  18. Calcium (700mg RDA) and magnesium (300mg RDA) are vital for healthy muscles as well as bones and help alleviate muscle spasms. Vitamin C (30mg RDA) and E(15mg RDA) are essential for maintaining connective tissue, and for alleviating disc injuries.

  19. Always visit your doctor

  20. This is essential for a proper diagnosis.

Workplace Ergonomics

Of course, please make your work station as ergonomic as possible.

There are several guidelines you can follow but one still has to make an effort to take breaks.

Computer injuries are increasing at an alarming rate since more people are reliant on their computers and handheld devices.

A desk and chair should be of sufficient height with enough leg room so you can get close enough to sit upright and work comfortably.

This is especially important if you spend many hours at your desk - ensure that your chair supports your back. To take the pressure off your back, keep your thighs parallel to the floor and keep your feet flat. Use a stool, ergonomic foot rest or phone books if necessary.

Crossing your legs will also help to rest your back.

If you must sit for long periods, take regular breaks and move around.

"After every 30 minutes of sitting, get up, walk around and stretch for a few minutes," advises Dr Thambiah.

History of Back Pain

If you have a history of back pain, you are likely to develop further episodes in the future.

Back pain that lasts longer than six weeks is considered chronic back pain.

For most people, acute relapses are triggered by trivial activities although some recurrences may be the result of an accident or an unusually heavy load.

In some cases, back pain may be accompanied by other symptoms, which may indicate a serious underlying cause that requires help from a specialist.

Back pain with... May Indicate
Fever An infection
Frequent painful or bloody urination A kidney problem
numbness or tingling in groin or rectal area
Loss of bowel or bladder control and leg weakness
Nerve damage
Pain causing you to wake up during the night Possible tumor or infection

Please see your doctor and not rely on this information!

Thank you for reading '10 Steps to a Healthy Back'!

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