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Now-a-days, most of us are suffering from back pains due to the change in lifestyle, increase in stress and excess weight. Our back is the most important part of our body, which helps us to perform various activities. We all must know how to maintain healthy back and reduce the pain. These days most of them are practising yoga in order to relive from back pain. But before starting up yoga, consult a yoga expert and follow the basic guidelines for yoga practice.
Back pain is a human condition, with 60-80% of world’s population experiencing pain at some time in their lives. Although there is no evidence that back pain prevalence has increased, reported disability due to back pain, particularly work absence, has increased in the last 30 years. In western countries back pain is the most common cause of sickness-related absence from work. In UK 7% of adult population consult their general physician each year with back pain, at a high cost and working days.
Only a small number of patients with back pain have a pathologically definable problem. All structures in the spinal column, other than cartilage, are pain sensitive, but exact mechanism of pain production within individual structures is unknown.
Mechanical pain accounts for more than 90% of back pain episodes, usually affecting patients aged 20-55 years. Onset often acute, associated with lifting or bending. Mechanical pain is related to activity and is generally relieved by rest. Low back pain is most common in heavy manual workers, particularly occupations that involve heavy lifting and twisting.
Most episodes of mechanical low back pain settle spontaneously with explanation, reassurance and simple analgesics. After two days 30% are better and after six weeks 90% have recovered. Recurrences of pain are common. Patient education is paramount. So, the patient must get enough information on how to maintain a healthy back.
How to Maintain Healthy Back?
In order to maintain a healthy back, we should know the various causes of back pain and try to prevent them.
Causes of Back Pain
Anything that puts pressure on the back muscles or nerves can cause pain, and any illness or damage to the spine can also cause pain. Though back pain is one of the most common health problems in western countries its cause is often unidentified. The majority of acute back pain problems, however, are most likely minor sprains, strains, spams and overuse.
Muscle spasms and strains are thought to be the most common causes of back pain. An awkward movement of the back (even sneezing, coughing, bending to tie a shoe or incorrectly lifting a heavy object) can cause muscle spasm. A spasm can cause the back to lock up and can cause severe pain. Muscle spasms tend to get better over time. Strained muscles, tendons, or ligaments or inflamed joints may cause pain along the spine. If the back is strained, soreness, or shifting may develop over time or immediate pain may be felt.
Excess weight adds stress to the spine. Additionally, increased fat around the abdomen may throw off balance and increase risk.
- In mid pregnancy the uterus becomes heavier, changing the women’s center of gravity, resulting in postural and movement changes. Most women being to lean backwards to later pregnancy, causing the back muscles to work harder.
- Weakness of abdominal muscles can also contribute to back pain during pregnancy. The abdominal muscles usually support the spine, playing an important role in keeping the back in good health.
- Additionally, the hormones of pregnancy cause the muscle to release and become loose which may cause some back pain and can contribute to making one more injury prone during physical activity.
Bad posture in any circumstance while standing or sitting for long periods, or while lifting, exercising, or during any other type of activity can contribute to back pain and problems.
Lifestyle factors, such as stress and smoking are thought to play a part in some cases of back pain. The mechanisms for this association however, have not yet proven.
Prevention of Back Pain
The first strategy for dealing with back pain is to try to prevent it. There are three primary areas one can focus on to keep a healthy back.
Regular exercise is the most potent weapon against back problems. Exercise has the potential to strengthen the back, increase aerobic capacity, improve over all fitness, reduce stress, and help shed excess pounds that put more pressure on back. You can perform yogasanas for reducing fat, which will in turn help you to reduce weight and stay fit and healthy. By increasing strength and flexibility of back muscles, weight is better distributed and less force is placed on spine. Strengthening of back muscles is also one of the most important steps in treating most causes of back pain.
Maintaining good posture can keep the back healthy, postural techniques can also help relieve back pain.
- Take care of the way you are seated. Sit in a firm chair with arm rests. Keep the back straight and shoulders released.
- If it is more comfortable, place the back of the chair at 13-20 degree angle. A small cushion behind the lower back to maintain the natural curve of the back can also be helpful.
- Keep the knees slightly higher than the hips, use a foot stool or book under the feet if necessary.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor, stool, or book.
- Do not sit for long periods of time stand up occasionally to stretch tight muscles and give them chance to relax.
- Stand with weight equal on both feet.
- Avoid locking your knees.
- Place one foot on a foot stool to ease tension in your back.
- Wear flat or low-heeled shoes if you must stand for long periods of time.
- Keep your back straight by tightening your stomach muscles and buttocks.
- Use a firm mattress.
- Lie on your side with knees bent.
- Place a pillow between your knees if it is more comfortable.
- If you sleep on your back, placing a pillow under your knees would help.
- Always lift with your legs.
- Bend down with your knees, keeping back straight, avoid arching the back.
- Hold the object close to your body.
- Straighten your legs to lift the objects.
- Always get help with an object which is too heavy.
- Avoid twisting your back at all times, particularly when carrying a load.
- Foot wear can affect your posture.
- Wear low or flat heeled shoes, as high heels may put more stress on your back by changing your posture.
- Choose cushion soled shoes to provide shock absorbency for your spine.
At first glance, diet may seem a strange factor in maintaining back health; however, it is always recommended to maintain a balanced diet chart in order to control our weight, which is very important in maintaining a healthy back. Excess weight adds pressure to back and can throw off balance. The best way to loose or maintain weight is to:
- Eat well balanced diet
- Regular Exercise
Remember to avoid fat diets and quick weight loss programs.
- Any individualized exercises and home care plans or modified work plan if needed.
- Medical Management: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), muscle relaxants or pain relievers.
- Surgical Management: Depending on the cause of back pain, surgical treatment can be planned.
- For acute back sprain, pain relieving modalities, such as interferential therapy, ultrasound or short wave diathermy can be given. Pelvic traction (Intermittent or continuous) depending on the cause of back ache can be given.
- Later spinal muscle strengthening is thought along with postural advice, such as not to bend forwards with hip and knee extended while attempting to pick objects from floor.
- Postural advice to the patient sitting at work, standing or lifting.
- Apply heat or cold pack
- Get in a comfortable position
- Rest for short periods
- Perform light exercises
- Use counter pain relievers.
These are the causes, prevention and treatment for back pain. This basic information helps you to know the reason behind your back pain and also on how to maintain healthy back. Back injury is one of the most painful injury. If you have a severe back pain, then it is always recommended to consult your general physician, than self treatment. You can also follow acupressure treatment to deal with back pain, as there are various benefits of acupressure points.