Save Your Back From Further Pain And Inflammation With These Tips
Back pain is usually the result of lifestyle, aging or accident. Of these three factors, lifestyle plays a central role in how well you age and in your chances of accidental injury.
Good lifestyle habits – proper body posture, correct lifting method and lots of exercise for a strong, flexible back – will keep your risk of back pain to a minimum.
The single most important way to look after your back is to respect the natural curves of your spine.
Any habitual pose that changes your back’s regular curves – from an awkward sleeping position to a poor driving posture – can increase the pressure on your spine. Good posture means holding your body in its correct alignment.
Good posture in your car
People who drive more than 25,000 miles a year take an average of 22 days a year off work with a bad back compared with just over three days for low mileage drivers. Part of the problem is the posture that drivers adapt. Motorist often adapt a so-called ‘banana’ posture while driving, leaning their body onto the wheel and extend their legs to reach pedals. Driving also gives you little opportunity to adjust your posture or to stand up and move around.
Choose the right car
If you have an existing back problem, consider getting an “automatic shift transmission” as opposed to a “stick-shift or manual shift transmission” car to avoid frequent gear changes that may place unwanted stress on the spine. A car with power steering reduces the awkward shoulder and trunk movements you need to park the car. Choose a car with cloth seats rather than leather or vinyl, as cloth provides friction and grip and stops you sliding into a slouch position.
Get in carefully
Try not to twist your body when you enter or exit your car. Try to enter by sitting sideways on a seat then turning your body around; in exiting the vehicle try to turn your body towards the door, then place your feet on the floor and stand up slowly. A swivel cushion may help.
Adjust the seat
Try to set your car seat in an upright position or recline it as this will limit you doing a lazy position or slouching while reducing the effects of vibration on the spine. Position your seat so that you can easily reach the pedals with your hips higher than your knees.
Adjust the headrest
Ensure that the top of the head restraint is level with your head while it should not be lower than eye level. This is to prevent whiplash injury.
Hold the wheel correctly
Don’t grip too hard and make sure you hold the wheel in correct position ’10 minutes to 2’. If your car has an adjustable wheel, set it at a comfortable angle.
Take regular breaks
Change your position regularly. During break, take a short walk or do a few simple neck and back exercises.
Good posture at your desk
Eyes – Make sure that the screen is at the right height so that your eyes are level with the top of the screen – place some large books under the monitor if necessary.
Body – Do not slouch. Keep your pelvis tucked in and make sure that your lower back is fully supported by the chair you were seated. Position the keyboard and monitor on level that your body won’t be twisting on the sideways or any position that will allow your body to slouch especially when using them for longer hours.
Arms and wrists – your work surface should be just lower than your elbows. Your wrists should be level with your hands while typing.
Legs and feet – set the seat height so that your legs are bent at right angles and your feet are flat on the floor or on the foot rest. Your legs should fit underneath the work surface so you don’t lean forward.
Always remember good posture whether driving, sitting at work or while exercising will strengthen back muscles as well as prevent injury.