Protecting Your Back
- Posted on: May 30 2017
Everyone always assumes they were the cause of their back pain. That can be true — yesterday you helped a friend move out an old refrigerator — but back injuries can also simply occur from normal behaviors such as bending over to tie your shoe.
Certainly, there are some higher risk movements for your back. But it also helps to know what to avoid. At the DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, we see every conceivable kind of back injury, but we always believe preventing injury is the best medicine. Here are some tips.
You’ve heard this one — never lift anything by bending over; lift by squatting and using your legs. This is quite true, but there is an even riskier movement that can be dangerous, even if you squat first. Lifting and twisting at the same time is no good. If you must lift that box from the floor and then turn to put it on a shelf, do it this way — squat and lift the box, but then instead of twisting your body around with the box, use your feet to turn your entire body.
Even more sound advice is to not lift many of those things in the first place. For instance, the refrigerator mentioned above. Just say no. Know your limits and hire someone.
Sitting versus standing
Everyone’s back issues are different. For some, sitting for prolonged periods is akin to medieval torture. For others, standing too long is the problem. Which one is a problem for you depends on the injury? If you have disk cartilage problems, sitting is the enemy. This is because when you sit, there is increased pressure in the abdomen. Standing feels better.
Avoiding sitting is often easier said than done. But at least use a good lumbar cushion in your chair or recline the back of the chair more than normal to spread out the weight/stress on the spine. Also, try and make sure your knees are at least as high as your hips when your feet are flat on the floor.
If your issue is standing, it’s likely you are developing arthritis in the tiny facet joints on the back of the spine. To avoid the pain, those with this issue either hunch over when they walk or lean on something such as a shopping cart at the supermarket. Sitting feels better.
To alleviate the issues with standing, try and wear comfortable shoes and stand on a soft surface. If you have a standing desk, make sure it is positioned high enough that you’re not bending over at all. Rest one leg on a stool or something else to reduce the stress on your spine. Change positions often.
Push it. Push it real good.
OK, apologies to Salt n’ Pepa. If you have something big you need to move, say a bookcase or chair. The best way to do this for your back is to push it and not pull it. Get close to it, tighten your stomach muscles, and push it. When you push you to utilize your stomach muscles, while you use your back when you pull.
Hopefully, these tips will keep your back in better shape. But if you have a problem with a disc or spinal arthritis, give us a call and we’ll help with the pain. Call us, 817-916-4685.
Posted in: Back Pain