04 December 2016
Top six tips for back pain prevention
Find out how to prevent getting a bad back at work
Two hours into a four hour train journey and I can’t ignore the discomfort and pain in my back…what do I do? Get up and stretch out in the middle of the carriage…obviously! However, my thoughts then turn to how office workers sit for 8 hours a day without experiencing such back pain and discomfort. Well it appears that they don’t!
In fact, 46% of women and 47% of men stated they have experienced back pain or discomfort to some level in the past year. That’s a total of 9.6 million Britons suffering from back pain per year. Last year, 31 million working days were lost due to back pain and at CPF we feel it’s time to lower those statistics. The focus of this article is to educate on the causes, risks and dangers of back pain as well as ways to combat it and improve your everyday life.
The first step towards preventing back pain is understanding the common causes of back pain, these include:
- Bending awkwardly or for long periods
- Lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling heavy objects
- Slouching in chairs
- Twisting awkwardly
- Driving or sitting in a hunched position or for long periods without taking a break
- Overusing the muscles
Lifestyle choices will also affect the likelihood of a person suffering from back pain. The lifestyle factors below are likely to increase the risk;
- Age – A sad fact in life is that as we get older, our body begins to slow down. Back pain is becomes more prevalent in those aged 35 and upwards.
- Lack of exercise – Unused muscles in your back will become weak and unable to support correct posture, leading to the increased likelihood of back pain.
- Excess Weight – Excess abdominal fat puts additional strain and stress on your back, this can also lead to a postural defect known as hyper-lordosis.
- Smoking – Smoking has a significant negative affect on our respiratory and circulatory system, in result blood flow will become restricted and weaker. Ultimately this will prevent the body from being able to deliver enough nutrients and energy to the muscles and discs in the back.
Ok, so we know what causes back pain, but how do we prevent it and make it a thing of the past. Well, in actual fact, if your back pain is caused by lifestyle factors, there are six simples steps to a back pain free life;
- Exercise – To cut straight to the point, muscles are meant to move! Sitting in the same position for 8 hours + per day is not what your body is designed to do. Exercise doesn’t have to be a 5-mile run or a 90 minute slog in the weight room. In actual fact, getting up from the desk and having a walk around the office every 30 - 45 minutes is enough to help prevent back pain. Sustained structured exercise will continue to improve your health, back strength and fitness. Try using our studio. We have a special offer for new members. The first month is half price.
- Eat Healthy – Eating healthy isn’t all celery sticks and pumpkin seeds, eating healthy is about balance. Maintaining good eating habits will not only maintain a healthy weight but will also avoid unnecessary stress on the body. A balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy products and whole-grains will keep your digestive system functioning properly.
- Sleep Sideways – Sleeping on your side allows your body to lie in natural, correct posture. It is vital to also have a supportive mattress and pillow to ensure you get enough sleep. Restful sleep is an essential element of maintaining good health.
- Proper Posture – Working at their work station all day, every day, people begin to slouch over their computers and telephones without realising the true damage they’re doing to their backs and posture. Ensure you are working at an ergonomically correct workstation, move around and stretch regularly to maintain natural posture. Keeping good posture will keep the natural curves of your spine and help to maintain it’s strength. Sit-stand desks are an excellent way to practice good posture in the workplace.
- Reduce Stress – Easier said than done, right? But do we know why it’s easier said than done? The truth is, you probably don’t realise you’re stressed or how it can impact your back health. Stress increases tension in your muscles, this constant tension leads to tightness around your spine, resulting in back pain and stiffness. Exercise activities will help you reduce stress, such exercises include; yoga, running, weightlifting, meditation, tai-chi and more! Try our relaxation class for businessmen and women.
- Quit Smoking – As mentioned above, quitting smoking will improve the health of the respiratory and circulatory system, increasing the blood supply quality and ultimately getting more nutrients and energy into your back muscles and discs.