People usually assume they caused their back pain. That can be true, especially if yesterday you helped your brother move a refrigerator. But back injuries can also simply occur from normal behaviors such as bending over to tie your shoe or even brushing your teeth and bending over at the sink.
There are things we tell our patients at Summit Healthcare to avoid/be careful of when dealing with their backs. After all, we see the aftermath. So, maybe a good resolution, and one you will keep hopefully, is to try and protect your back in 2019. Here are some tips for doing just that from your friends at Summit Healthcare.
Everyone knows you should lift by squatting, not bending over. Not everyone knows of a far riskier movement, though, even if you bend your knees. Lifting and twisting at the same time is no good. If you must lift that box from the floor and then turn to put it on a shelf, do it this way — squat and lift the box, but then instead of twisting your body around with the box, use your feet to turn your entire body.
Even more sound advice is to not lift many of those things in the first place. For instance, the refrigerator mentioned above. Just say no. It’s your brother — tell him to hire a mover!
Sitting versus standing
Everyone’s back issues are different. For some, sitting for prolonged periods is torture. For others, standing too long is the problem. What’s up with that? It depends on the type of damage that has been done to your back, as to what bothers it. If you have disk cartilage problems, sitting is the enemy. This is because when you sit there is increased pressure in the abdomen. Standing feels better.
Avoiding sitting is often easier said than done. But at least use a good lumbar cushion in your chair or recline the back of the chair more than normal to spread out the weight/stress on the spine. Also, try and make sure your knees are at least as high as your hips when your feet are flat on the floor.
If your issue is standing, it’s likely you are developing arthritis in the tiny facet joints on the back of the spine. To avoid the pain, you’ll see people with this problem hunch over when they walk, or you can see them using something like a supermarket cart for support. Sitting feels better.
To alleviate the issues with standing, try and wear comfortable shoes and stand on a soft surface. If you have a standing desk, make sure it is positioned high enough that you’re not bending over at all. Rest one leg on a stool or something else to reduce the stress on your spine. Change positions often.
Push don’t pull
If you have something big you need to move, say a bookcase or chair. The best way to do this for your back is to push it and not pull it. Get close to it, tighten your stomach muscles, and push it. When you push you utilize your stomach muscles, while you use your back when you pull.
Dr. Trujillo and our entire team at Summit Healthcare hope you have a back pain-free 2019. But if you do run into some pain, we’re the place to turn to for relief. If you have any questions, or need to schedule an appointment, call us at (928) 532-1605.