TIPS FOR PRE­VENT­ING BACK PAIN

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Kusal Goonewar­dena

Suffering from back pain? Live pain-free us­ing ex­er­cise and move­ment

PRE­VENT­ING BACK PAIN HINGES ON TWO MAIN THINGS: 1. Con­sis­tency.

Back pain of­ten arises from ha­bit­ual prob­lems, such as poor pos­ture (par­tic­u­larly seated pos­ture) and lack of mo­bil­ity. Suc­cess­fully pre­vent­ing back pain means find­ing so­lu­tions and stay­ing con­sis­tent.

2. My mantra on back pain – keep mov­ing.

We are made to move and when we don’t prob­lems emerge. Re­search con­firms that less move­ment, such as bed rest, is the worst pos­si­ble thing for back pain. We know that mov­ing a lit­tle as of­ten as pos­si­ble, is key to treat­ing the pain. Once pain sub­sides, it’s im­por­tant to keep mov­ing and in­crease

your range of move­ment, which be­comes a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure.

SOME OTHER KEY POINTS FOR PRE­VENT­ING BACK PAIN THAT ALL CEN­TRE AROUND CON­SIS­TENCY AND MO­BIL­ITY IN­CLUDE THE FOL­LOW­ING: 1. Main­tain an ex­er­cise pro­gram.

Ex­er­cise brings the most pow­er­ful ben­e­fits when com­bin­ing low, medium and high in­ten­sity ex­er­cise. Low in­ten­sity ex­er­cise like walking should be done most days of the week. When con­sid­er­ing the in­ten­sity in­volved, I con­sider walking to be two or three out of 10. Mod­er­ate in­ten­sity ex­er­cises such as jog­ging, swim­ming, cy­cling or go­ing to the gym, when you’re push­ing your­self, is re­garded as about five or six out of 10, ideally two or three times a week.

High in­ten­sity pro­gram is re­garded as eight out of 10 for a short pe­riod and re­search shows that re­sults are pos­si­ble just twice a week. Ex­er­cise keeps your joints lu­bri­cated, in­clud­ing your spine and pre­vents your mus­cles from stiff­en­ing. It im­proves your range of move­ment, your biome­chan­ics, strength­ens your core and helps keep weight down – all crit­i­cal for back pain preven­tion.

Please note, that I rec­om­mend be­ing checked by a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional be­fore en­gag­ing in any ex­er­cises pro­grams par­tic­u­larly high in­ten­sity ex­er­cise, if you have a heart con­di­tion or any health prob­lems.

2. Flow move­ment through your day.

Many of us are desk-bound at work. Peo­ple who en­sure they get up from their desk every 45 min­utes, even just for a minute or two, do their back a big favour. But move when­ever you can – take the stairs, walk up the es­ca­la­tor, walk in­stead of driv­ing wher­ever pos­si­ble.

3. Watch your pos­ture.

Par­tic­u­larly seated pos­ture; en­sure your seat is the cor­rect height, that your feet are on the floor, your com­puter screen is the right height and that you are the cor­rect dis­tance from the desk.

4. Watch out for stress.

This can be hard to avoid but un­der­stand­ing that stress plays a key role in back pain is a start and will hope­fully en­able you to avoid big stress fac­tors.

5. Lift with your knees.

A bad lift can undo all your best ef­forts even if the ob­ject isn’t overly heavy. Al­ways lift with your knees us­ing the strong mus­cles in your thighs and not your back.

6. En­sure your bed is pro­vid­ing rest.

The wrong mat­tress or pil­low can play havoc on your back pain.

7. Un­der­stand your trig­ger points.

Hope­fully af­ter go­ing through di­ag­no­sis and re­cov­ery, you un­der­stand the trig­ger points that set off your back pain. It may be a com­bi­na­tion of is­sues, such as poor pos­ture and stress.

8. Use stretches as pre­ven­ta­tive ex­er­cises.

You may have used stretches and ex­er­cises to treat pre­vi­ous back pain; they can then be­come pow­er­ful preven­tion ex­er­cises.

9. Avoid reach­ing for drugs when pain does flare up.

Reach­ing for drugs such as anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries has a lim­ited ef­fect, as re­vealed by a re­cent study by the Ge­orge In­sti­tute for Global Health, which found drugs for back pain pro­vide lit­tle ben­e­fit but cause side ef­fects. Drugs may be­come a sub­sti­tute for other pre­ven­ta­tive so­lu­tions such as move­ment, to your detri­ment. Avoid­ing the vi­cious cy­cle of pain and re­lief via drugs, is an im­por­tant pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure.

KEY POINTS:

• back pain preven­tion re­quires con­sis­tency

• move­ment is key, in­clud­ing reg­u­lar ex­er­cises

• un­der­stand your key trig­gers

• drugs are no sub­sti­tute for pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures, such as move­ment.

Kusal Goonewar­dena is an ex­pe­ri­enced phys­io­ther­a­pist who con­sults via his clinic, Elite Akademy Sports Medicine. He be­lieves pas­sion­ately that phys­io­ther­apy pa­tients should see pos­i­tive re­sults in three ses­sions or less. Kusal has au­thored books in­clud­ing: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free and 3 Minute Work­outs, cur­rently avail­able via Wilkin­son Pub­lish­ing. When not con­sult­ing, Kusal is is a lec­turer, author, con­sul­tant and men­tor to thou­sands of phys­io­ther­apy stu­dents around the world. www.eliteakademy.com

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