Prevention best for back pain

Approximately 80 per cent of the population will suffer from serious back pain at some point in their adult lives. Often it occurs because of a sports injury but sometimes something as simple as bending over to pick up a pencil or tie your shoe laces can leave you bed ridden for days.

There are many causes of low back pain such as a sudden trauma from a car accident or sports injury, a herniated disc or weak muscles that finally just ‘give’. Often low back pain originates from your pelvic area or SI Joint. Whatever the reason, low back pain stinks.

Many common treatments for low back pain include physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy. While these treatments are very effective, wouldn’t it be great if you could prevent a back injury or the re-occurrence of an old injury?

There are some serious causes of low back pain that can often not be prevented, but a lot of back injuries are due to weak back and abdominal muscles, poor posture and unsafe work practises. If you are lifting heavy objects all day long and have weak core strength, you are an injury waiting to happen.

Many people don’t realise this but one of the greatest amounts of pressure or stress you can put on your back occurs when you are sitting. So if you are working at a desk all day, hunched over a computer screen, you can understand why your low back might be sore.

Sitting all day not only puts pressure on your low back, especially if it is not supported correctly, but the act of staring at your computer screen all day lends to a poor forward rounded posture. It is always a good idea to get up every once in a while to walk around and stretch.

Participating in core stability exercises, Pilates and general cardiovascular activities are a great way to keep you and your back in shape and help prevent injuries due to muscle weakness.

If you suffer from back pain it is always a good idea to consult your doctor or physiotherapist before starting an exercise programme.

Deanna Smith is an Exercise Physiologist at RVC Rehab Services. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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