Your Back pain!
It ruins your day, it alters your routine and unfortunately it is something that you just can’t simply ignore. What’s more, this bothersome condition can become serious; left untreated, urgent care may become necessary. Proper treatment must not only target the pain but also the underlying root of the problem.
Possible causes of your back pain could be;
• Improper sitting posture
• Lifting excess weights
• Muscle overused
• Strained ligaments due to sudden awkward movements
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Mentally stressful job
• Serious conditions such as cancer or spine infection
• Structural problems like sciatica, arthritis or ruptured disks
Getting to know the Structure of Your Back
Our back is made up of complex structures that support your legs, rib cage, pelvis skulls and arms. Each vertebra of the bones consist of spongy tissues or cartilage that act as shock absorbers and gives flexibility to your spine.
Ligaments are the connective tissues that hold your spine together, allowing structural support and movement. Each part – be it the muscle, ligament or joints of our back – are essential for full mobility.
When any of this part is injured or damage is when back pain takes place.
Back pain occurs at any point of the spine and has a range of symptoms from stiffness to weakness, pain and tension. Back pain is among the common chronic health problems in Canada.
4 out of 5 adults is likely to experience back pain at some point of their lives although the occurrences often strikes as they age between 30 to 50.
Acute symptoms of back pain may last for six weeks or less while chronic back pain can last longer than 3 months.
Proper Care for Your Back
There are simple things that you can do to prevent or treat your back pain. With the right routines and lifestyle, the pain can be alleviated and future re-occurrences can be prevented. Here are some healthy measures suggested by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (downloadable PDF).
1. Perfect your posture
It’s important to keep your spine properly aligned, whether you are walking or sitting.
One way to improve your posture is to imagine that a string is attached to the top of your head, pulling you gently upwards towards the ceiling. Just thinking about it will help you lengthen your spine.
When sitting, especially in front of a computer, be sure the chair supports your lower back – in a slightly arched position – and that both feet are flat on the floor.
Don’t slump, and use an armrest to help reduce stress in the upper body.
For good sleeping posture, use a supportive pillow and mattress, and sleep on your back or side.
2. Be more active – every day
Lack of fitness is directly associated with back pain. All types of activity contribute to back health, especially strength exercises for the back and abdominal muscles, and flexibility stretching for the entire body. Always warm up before physical activity, and stretch-out when you’re finished. To help make physical activity a habit, follow the Fit-in 15 program.
3. Lift with care
Avoid lifting heavy objects that may place too much strain on your back. When you do lift, bend your knees and use your arm and leg muscles, not your back, to do the work. Hold the object close to your body and distribute the weight evenly.
Other lifestyle habits make a difference too! Maintaining a healthy weight reduces strain on your back.
Drinking several glasses of water every day helps to keep your entire body hydrated, including the disks of your spine. Your spinal disks need water to keep them cushiony, which is good for back health.
Mind/body activities including restorative yoga and regular massage can help you avoid stress-related back problems.
4. See a health professional
See a health professional, such as a physiotherapist, if you have back pain that persists. It may go away on its own, but there’s also a chance that back pain will recur if left untreated, possibly even more serious.
Get Help From Professionals
A qualified physiotherapist can assess back pain by physical examination and interviewing the patient. Most back pain cases don’t need imaging scan. If suspected that your pain is due to underlying causes, x-ray or MRI scan may be done to get a better view of the your situation.
The goal of physiotherapy treatments is to eliminate your pain through rehabilitation by restoring your back’s proper function and strengthen its structure. You should also to be educated about the common triggers of your back pain and how to prevent it from recurring. A custom rehabilitative program which could include lifestyle changes, diet and exercises may be recommended.