Facts every Young Professional should know about back pain

In this current generation, back pain has become as common as the common cold. Men, women, young, old, entrepreneurs, working in offices or even those just sitting around doing nothing could fall victim of back pain. It begins as something bland and is often ignored.

What do you do when it becomes recurrent or severe? Do you rush to the hospital? Take painkillers and retire early or assume and carry on with your daily activities? What really causes back pain? The same way people don’t go to the hospital when infected with the common cold is the same way people treat back pain.

The problem is it’s not clear on how we can reduce and relieve back pain without visiting the hospital. Some people sorry to say, assume good sex if the remedy to relieving back pain. But is it really? Let’s find out.

This is a must read for you and anyone else you care about.

FACTS ABOUT BACK PAIN

Most back pain occurs on the lower back. The lower back comprises five vertebrae in the lumbar region which supports most of the weight of the upper body. There are spaces between the vertebrae which a maintained by round pads called intervertebral discs that act as shock absorbers as the bones move. The vertebrae are also held in place by tissues known as ligaments and the muscles are attached to the spinal column by tendons.

A number of nerves are rooted in the spinal cord which controls body movement – pelvis, legs, and feet; and transmit signals from the body to the brain. Problems affecting any of these components could lead to back pain which may come as come as a dull, constant ache or a sudden sharp sensation that could leave someone uncomfortable or incapacitated.

Most cases of lower back pain are acute (not severe) and can last few days to a week. It is commonly caused by strain or injury of the muscles, ligaments, joints, or discs.

ACTIVITIES THAT MAY LEAD TO STRAIN OR INJURY

  •    Lifting heavy objects especially improperly may twist the spine during the process.

Sudden movements such as a fall, making an awkward movement, bending over to vacuum or carrying shopping bags

  •    Poor posture over time while sitting, standing or sleeping

  •    Too much stress anxiety or depression. Stress may lead to muscle tension n the back and anxiety may just make the pain worse.

  •    Recent accidents or injuries

OTHER FACTORS THAT COULD PUT YOU AT RISK OF LOWER BACK PAIN ARE

  •    Poor physical fitness

  •    Obesity – especially around your stomach can put added strain on your back.

  •    Smoking

  •    Strenuous physical exercise or work activities

  •    Pregnancy

  •    Stress

  •    Old age

If you are a victim suffer no more. From extensive research and consultation with medical, we found that back pain prevention or treatment is neither difficult nor expensive. To make it better you can do it in the comfort of your home. It just requires a few adjustments in your lifestyle and you are good to go

WAYS OF RELIEVING BACK PAIN

Good poster

A good posture makes your body comfortable and requires less energy from your muscles. The muscles in your abdomen (lower back) become stronger and work more efficiently when they are correctly aligned to support and allow you to move your limbs swiftly.

When we sit, stand or lie in a poor position for a long period it exerts more pressure on your spine which can lead to back pain by causing problems on your muscles, joints, and ligaments. Maintain good posture when:-

Standing

Stand upright with your back straight, head facing forward and legs straight.  Ensure your knees a very slightly bent. When standing for long periods do not slouch (bending your shoulder forward). You can place one foot on a lower ground. This help reduces the load on your back pain.

Sitting

Sitting posture is one of the leading causes of back pain among young people. People tend to slouch toward their desks, computers, phones or when they on chairs that lack back support. A good seat should offer back support and armrest that allows you need to be able to sit upright at work or at home.

You can also break up long sitting periods stretching exercises or taking a short walk. If you practice good posture, you will maintain the natural curves of your back and help keep it strong. Also when driving it is important to have the wing mirrors properly positioned so you do not need to twist. The pedals should be squarely in front of your feet. If you are on a long journey, have plenty of breaks. Get out of the car and walk around.

Sleeping

Your aim in maintaining good posture is to keep your spine in line. Same is applied when lying down. You might think by lying down you are relieving your back but if you lay in the wrong posture you are only making it worse. You should use a firm mattress that keeps your spine straight and a pillow that doesn’t force your neck into an uncomfortable position.

The pillow should be below your head. Its purpose is to fill the gap between your head and shoulder, keeping your head in line with your spine. This creates the least amount of strain.

Also when sleeping, avoid lying on your belly as it is impossible to keep your spine inline in this position and could permanently cause your neck to face one side during sleep. When sleeping on your side keeps your knees slightly bent to maintain an alignment of your spine. Avoid folding your knees toward your chest as this causes an awkward position which leads to strain. In case of doubt please seek psychotherapist advice.

When sleeping on your back your weight is evenly distributed as a result you place less strain on the pressure point. On a straight mattress, you could add a pillow under your knees to help align your body. Make sure your legs are straight and you are not sleeping on a pile of pillows that would keep your neck at a stressed angle

Keeping the right amount of curvature in the back takes pressure off the nerves and will reduce back pain.

Reduce stress

You probably didn’t know this but stress anxiety and depression may lead to chronic back pain. In Dr. Edward Shorter’s book, From Paralysis to Fatigue, the history of psychosomatic illnesses is described. One such diagnosis developed in the 1820s is “spinal irritation” and this is essentially equivalent to the modern day idea of stress-related back pain.

The diagnosis of spinal irritation was quite popular and spread throughout many parts of the world at that time. Also Dr, John E Sarno described the named this type of back pain as Tension myositis syndrome (TMS), as tension myoneural syndrome or mind-body syndrome.

Dr.  Sarno, a Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University School of Medicine and attending physician at The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center, has described TMS in four books,

Sarno, John E. (1982). Mind Over Back Pain. Berkley Books.

Sarno, John E. (1991). Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. Warner Books.

Sarno, John E. (2006). The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders. HarperCollins

Sarno, John E. (1998). The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain. Warner Books

Dr. Sarno’s theory of TMS describes a mechanism whereby emotional tension is pushed out of awareness by the mind into the unconscious. This unconscious tension causes changes in the body’s nervous system. These changes include constriction in blood vessels and reduction of blood flow to the various soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves in the back.

This causes a decrease in oxygen to the area as well as a buildup of biochemical waste products in the muscles. In turn, this results in muscle tension, spasm, and back pain experienced by the patient.

Being anxious activates the body’s stress response. A part of the stress response changes includes causing the body’s muscles to tighten so that they are more resilient to damage when in real danger.

In fact, high anxiety and persistently elevated stress can cause muscles to become so tight that they experience chronic pain, stiffness, soreness, and immobility. So, as your anxious behaviors increase, so will your body’s stress and its effects, including causing severely tight muscles in the back that cause chronic back pain.

“Any activity that helps you reduce stress will help prevent back pain,” says Robin Lustig, DC, a chiropractor at New Jersey Total Health Center in Lodi and Pompton Plains, N.J.  Stress reduction activities can include yoga, meditation, biofeedback, deep breathing, tai chi, and guided imagery.

Exercise   

Get up and move. “Muscles are meant to move,” Lustig says.  When you are not flexible you are at higher risk of hurting your back even with simple movements like carrying bags or bending to lift your child from his/her crib. Exercise also helps you keep your weight down which in turn reduces pressure on the back muscles which would be added by extra fats.

You should opt for exercise which strengthens your core and not strain your back. Regular or low impact aerobics. Strengthening your core will help condition the muscles to work together like a natural corset for your back.

Flexibility also extends to your hips and upper legs which aligns your pelvic bones to improve the feeling on your back. There are many kinds of exercise especially for women but the aerobics we are talking about is applicable to both genders. You should choose which one to perform carefully. You do not want to strain

Avoid movements that twist or strain your back. Use your body properly: Remember if symptoms persist seek medical attention.

In my next article I will look at various exercises that are suitable and gentle on your back muscles.

Important Disclaimer: The information contained on RegionWeek is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Any statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and any information or products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease or illness.

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