As treacherous as back trouble can be, some can be avoided or at least minimized, by practicing the three stages of “Back Awareness”.
#1 PRACTICAL BACK HINTS
Lifting Objects – Before grasping the object, squat as low as possible. The idea is to bend at the knees rather than the waist. Grasp the object and lift it by standing up while keeping the object close to the body. This keeps low back stress at a minimum.
Long Auto Trips – A small firm pillow or rolled up towel placed at the base of the spine or in the curve of the low back helps, provided curve is not increased. Move car seat forward and backward from time to time. Cruise control is good. Lets you move your legs somewhat. Passengers and drivers alike need frequent stops and stretches. Walk around a little if it’s safe to do so.
Standing In One Place – This is “murder” for most backs. If a job at home or work requires that you stand in one place for a long time, try parking one foot at a time on a stool or box at 15-minute intervals.
Sitting While Working – The shape of your chair is most important. It should help maintain the curve in the low back. However, if chair is padded, padding should not be so thick as to increase the spinal curve. Keep your body close to the desk-so you are not constantly leaning forward to get at your work. Occasionally stand up, stretch and walk around the office or up and down the hall.
Sleeping – A firm mattress is a must. Never sleep on your stomach. That increases the lower back’s curve and is a major cause of back-ache. Sleeping on your side in the fetal position is usually easy on your back. A small pillow keeps your head level, reducing neck strain. Sleeping on your back with a small pillow under your head and a pillow under your knees usually helps even if you are already in pain.
#2 EARLY WARNING SIGNS
Back trouble does not always strike like a lightning bolt from the blue. More often than not, early warning signs let the intended victim know that bigger trouble is on the way. When any of the following signs appear, take them as a warning that something may be going wrong with your back’s musculoskeletal arrangement. See your chiropractor right away.
- Pain in the low back. Sometimes may extend into thigh and lower leg. May occur off and on. Lifting, turning, bending may cause pain in low back. Pain often so mild, it’s barely noticed.
- Mild pain or ache anywhere in back. Reduced flexibility.
- Pain between or around shoulders.
- Neck stiffness or pain. Restricted neck movement.
- Pain, tingling, numbness in arms, legs, hands, feet.
- Numb, cold, tingling hands, feet, arms, legs.
- Head, neck, shoulders, arms feel heavy and tired.
- General fatigue.
- Frequent anxiety, irritability.
- Ringing in ears. Hearing diminished.
#3 GETTING REGULAR CHIROPRACTIC “TUNE-UPS”
Sometimes tune-ups are referred to as once-a-month care or preventive/maintenance care, but the word “tune-up” very aptly describes optimum chiropractic care designed to keep a person in the best possible shape and to check and treat the cause of any early warning signs. Tune-ups are a very important factor in avoiding or minimizing serious back problems. They might be compared with the old maxim, “a stitch in time saves nine.”
COMBINED EFFORT PAYS OFF
As you can see, “Back Awareness” requiring the combined efforts of you and your chiropractor helps keep your back ready to go when you are!