Chronic back problems are a common ailment affecting people in the United States. Back injuries cause pain, interfere with activities of daily living, and can limit the ability of individuals to perform necessary work-related tasks. However, many incidents that lead to injury can be reduced and even eliminated by following a basic plan of preventative care. Here are some guidelines to help you develop a sensible strategy:
Start and maintain a regular exercise program that includes strength training, aerobic activity, and regular stretching. Allow time for balance exercises, lower back, and abdominal strengthening to help build a strong and stable core. If you do not exercise regularly or it has been a while, start slowly and gradually build up duration and intensity.
Follow a routine of quality nutrition, making sure you eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, limit your intake of starches, and get enough lean protein and healthy fats. Eliminate canned, processed, and packaged foods as much as possible. Smart eating paired with regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, which will reduce stress on your lower back.
When lifting an object, bend the knees, keep your feet flat when feasible, and use your legs. Hold the item as near to your body as reasonable. Lifting in this manner reduces stress on your intervertebral lumbar discs. If your job involves manual labor, take breaks when fatigued and stretch periodically during your shift
Design your workspace with ergonomics in mind so that your feet are flat on the floor and knees are bent at a 90° angle. Adjust the height and distance of your desk or workspace so that your computer sits at eye level so you can reach your keyboard without having to lean forward.
Concentrate on maintaining good posture by sitting and standing straight as often as possible
Sleep on your side or back without arching very much. Side sleepers should place a pillow between your knees, while back sleepers should place it under their knees These modifications will reduce the stress on your spine.
When a back injury occurs, stop your activity, and seek medical attention instead of pushing through the pain.
If you are experiencing unresolved back pain and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, please contact our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.