Best Ways to Prevent Low Back Pain Best Ways to Prevent Low Back Injuries
A low back injury can lead to excruciating pain, but it is possible to prevent such an injury. It is important to make sure to keep the stress and weight off your spine when performing strenuous tasks, such as lifting heavy weights. However, you must also play it safe when performing sedentary activities as simple as sitting.
Dr. Nick Shamie, MD, who is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the associate professor of spine surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine as well as the director of spinal deformity surgery at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital, says that it is important that you use proper body mechanics. He says, "Otherwise, the spine will be subjected to forces that will eventually lead to back injury and back pain. That means paying attention to how the spine works while lifting, walking, sitting, standing and sleeping."
Heavy Lifting Without Injury
We have all heard about the proper techniques for heavy lifting time and time again. However, many people fail to make the conscious effort to put such techniques into practice.
The first rule of thumb to prevent low back injuries when you lift something heavy is to use your legs, not your back. To do this, bend your knees and keep your back straight, as opposed to bending at your waist and using your back to lift.
Preparation is good practice in any activity, especially heavy lifting. Think about the method that you are going to use to lift the heavy object. Next, make sure your feet are shoulder width apart, which will provide you with a wide support base. As you lift, keep the weight as close to your body as you can in order to reduce the stress on the muscles in your back as well as your spine.
Twisting as you lift something heavy is a big no-no. The sheer force of such incredible stress on the spine can quickly lead to serious low back injuries. According to Dr. Shamie, "Twisting your back and loading it with weight is one of the worst things you can do."
One of the most common ways to prevent low back injuries is by using a back support belt. However, a recent study by the National Institution of Occupational Safety and Health did not discover any evidence that these wide elastic belts reduced the risk of back injury in individuals lifting and moving heavy objects.
The Proper Way to Sit and Stand
How many times did your mother tell you to stand up straight? Actually, this is sound advice. According to experts, slouching can lead to painful back injuries. When you do not stand up straight, additional pressure is placed on your back, which will put stress on the spine, as your muscles grow tired. This can lead to pinched nerves or spinal disk deterioration. You should hold your head up, keep your shoulders back and balance your weight on your feet.
When you sit, make sure your back is all the way against the back of your chair with your shoulders straight and your feet are flat on the floor. Your hips and knees should be at a 90° angle. Chairs that feature lumbar support are best.
Never bend over to pick something up when in a seated position. According to Dr. Shamie, "You're flexing forward, so the load is being transmitted through the disks."
Getting to the Core
One of the best ways to prevent low back injuries is to build a strong core. The core musculature consists of twenty-nine muscle pairs supporting the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, which stabilizes the pelvis, spine and kinetic chain as you move. Practicing exercises that target the core are critical to the prevention of low back injuries