The importance of staying fit and healthy is obvious and whilst maintaining an active lifestyle and eating well are both crucial, one thing that is often overlooked is back health.Back pain affects thousands of people in the UK every year and can have a serious impact on quality of life. It can also have a major affect on finances as many sufferers find themselves unable to work as a result of their condition.
Keeping your back supple is key to preventing pain. To maintain back health, it is a good idea to exercise regularly, maintain good posture and learn to lift and carry correctly.
Lifting and Carrying
Poor lifting and carrying techniques are responsible for a large percentage of back injuries. By consulting health and safety experts, such as those at Phoenix Health and Safety, both individuals and businesses could benefit by reducing the time and financial losses that these conditions cause. When learning to lift there are a few stages that must be implemented to ensure that back injuries are kept to a minimum.
When performing a lift, you must first think about the size and weight of the object and where you are lifting it to. It is important to identify if the lift is within your physical capabilities and whether or not there are obstacles, such as doors or stairs, in the way.
When embarking on the lift it is important to stand, well balanced, with the feet shoulder-width apart. You should bend the back, knees and hips slightly at the same time. Taking a firm grip of the object, it is important that you lift from the legs and allow them to take the strain.
Once the object has been lifted it is important that it is kept as close to the chest as possible. This allows greater control and helps you to distribute the weight evenly. At this stage of the lift, make sure that you can see over the object and are looking forward as a large percentage of the accidents that happen when lifting and carrying are due to trips, slips and falls. Finally you should always keep your shoulders and hip pointing in the same direction and avoid twisting.
Exercise is a good way to improve the strength and flexibility of the back. Making the muscles stronger and increasing the range of movement can significantly reduce the number of back injuries that occur.
Making sure that you have incorporated a mix of different exercises into your workout will help the all-round development of back muscles. Walking, running and swimming all help to strengthen the back, whilst classes such as yoga can improve your range of movement.
One thing to think about when it comes to exercise relates to pre-existing conditions. If you have suffered from chronic back pain in the past or are currently suffering, exercise may make your condition worse. Always consult a medical professional before you begin any exercise.
There have been many studies that suggest that bad posture is one of the direct causes of back pain. Many scientists believe that sitting at a desk all day can have a detrimental effect on your spinal health. It is also suggested that hours spent looking down at smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are causing curvature of the spine and back pain.
If your job involves sitting at a desk all day then it is important that your chair is properly adjusted and that you are sitting at eye level with the screen. When in the seated position your knees and hips should be level, with your feet flat on the floor. It is also recommended that you support the small of your back with a cushion.