How to prevent back pain is something you must all know and also practice. This is because back pain that becomes chronic can make your life miserable. What is more alarming is that it is very widely prevalent.
According to NIH, lifetime prevalence is as high as 84% in the adult population. Four out of five people suffer from back pain making it the second most common reason for people to abstain from work after the common cold.
I have seen innumerable patients with back pain leading a life of misery. Everything, they do, like sitting at work or at home, sleeping, standing, and walking is a painful experience for them.
It is as though, life itself is a pain. The pain is at times severe, in the back and in the legs, which can make life terrible.
You also have to be aggressive about following the preventive tips, because the back pain can worsen over time and become chronic. Chronic back pain can cause some crippling complications.
8 Effective ways to prevent back pain
The main aim to prevent back pain is to develop good and strong back muscles to support the vertebral column and hold the vertebrae in place. Strong back muscles are less prone to strain than weak back muscles.
Weak back muscles can cause a vertebra to slip from its normal position and press on the emerging nerves from the spinal cord or an intervertebral disc to prolapse.
Therefore, when you have strong back muscles, chances of a prolapsed intervertebral disc or collapse of a vertebra are much reduced or if a back strain does occur, recovery is much faster.
The steps to develop a healthy back are simple and easy to implement. You must incorporate these steps into your everyday lifestyle. Posture is everything. Always maintain an upright posture when standing, walking, or sitting.
1. A nutritious and well-balanced diet
Your backbone is a complex structure made of bones, muscles, nerves, and other structures. All these structures need to be fed well and exercised regularly to keep the backbone strong and without any pathology.
You’ve got to give your body the right amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep all the systems in your body functioning to the optimum, and to keep your bones, muscles, and nerves strong and healthy.
All systems in the body should stay robust and function well. They are all interdependent on each other. If something goes wrong with one, it can affect the functioning of the other systems.
North Central gives a detailed post on the diet to increase your muscle and bone strength.
2. A proper sleeping mattress
Ensure that your sleeping mattress is right. Some of us develop back pain when sleeping. To avoid this, a proper sleeping mattress that will help to avoid getting back pain is a must.
Select a mattress on which you feel comfortable when you lie down. It is not necessary that a particular mattress suits all of us. The mattress should be firm but not hard. The surface should be soft. It should preserve the natural contours of the spine when sleeping.
The thickness and the padding are determined by your preference and your comfort. The pillow should be such to keep the neck in a neutral position. If the mattress begins to sag with age or you stop feeling comfortable when sleeping on it, it is time to buy a new one.
3. Maintain a normal weight
Excess body weight increases the load on the vertebral column and the intervertebral discs. Maintaining a healthy weight and losing excess weight prevent back issues. Excess weight produces stress on other backbone joints as well as other joints in the body.
Dropping just a few excess pounds can take a big load off your back. For every four pounds of body weight you lose, you remove 16 pounds of pressure from your spine.
4. Choose your shoes well
Your shoes should offer comfort when walking and standing. They should have rubber or soft padding under the heels and soles to absorb the shock when walking. This will reduce the impact of such overtures on the backbone.
If your shoes don’t offer adequate support or place too much pressure on one part of your foot, the vertebrae in your spine may soon lose their alignment and become misaligned. This will reflect on your backbone and cause problems. Know how to choose your shoes.
5. Know how to lift objects
Make sure you are lifting heavy objects the right way. Maximum cases of back muscle strain occur when lifting objects. Do it the right way to reduce this incidence.
Stand close to the object. Legs should be a little more than shoulder-width apart. To stoop, bend the knees and the hip joints and not the back. Lift the weight gradually while maintaining a straight back.
This video shows you how to properly lift heavy objects.
6. How to sit properly on the chair
You may be sitting on the chair at work for 8 hours or maybe more. That is a lot of time and you may develop backache while sitting at your desk. If you do not follow the proper steps, you are asking for back trouble.
Follow these simple tips:
- Choose a proper chair, which gives support to the lower back. You should feel that support at the upper and lower back when you are sitting on the chair.
- Always maintain a proper upright posture when sitting. The importance of this point cannot be overemphasized.
- Get up at intervals and walk around or do a little bit of stretching.
- If you are engaged in a job, which requires sitting for hours, you could use a lumbosacral belt prophylactically.
- The belt will give support to the back support when you sit for hours. It will also help to maintain proper posture while sitting. This will prevent developing back pain in the future.
Work-related back pain is the most common and occurs due to bad sitting posture.
7. Exercise to prevent back pain
To keep your back muscles strong, you need to exercise them. Doing abs and other stretching and core muscle strengthening exercises will do your back good.
Swimming is another good exercise, which exercises the whole body. Start with a warm-up first before you jump into your exercise routine.
Exercise forms probably the most important part of the tips to prevent back pain because they help to strengthen the back muscles.
8. Avoid high heel shoes
Wearing high heel shoes may give you back pain while walking because this will shift the center of gravity of your body and put an additional strain on your back muscles.
This can weaken your muscles over time and cause pain. To prevent this wear shoes that have a one-inch heel. This will give you comfort and make walking that much easier.