Tuesday, 10 February 2015


The back includes the bones of the spine ( vertebrae that support body weight), their joints,  the discs that separate the vertebrae and absorb shock as you move, and the muscles and ligaments that hold it all together.
Back pain occurs when one or more of these structures  is injured. Back pain can also occur when you sprain or strain the ligaments or muscles from a sudden or improper movement or due to overuse. If you damage your discs so that they tear or stretch and the tear is large enough, the disc may press against a nerve, the irritated nerve may swell or become inflamed thereby causing back pain.

Any of the above injuries can result  to back pain. Back pain can also be caused by some conditions that affect the bones and joints of the spine. Arthritis causes a steady ache, while Osteoporosis weakens the bones of the spine which can cause the bone to compress and lead to varying degrees of pain. Back pain  can be felt in the low back, in the buttocks, or down the leg.
·         ICE   -   As soon as possible, apply ice or a cold pack to your injured back ( 10 to 15 minutes every hour). This limits swelling, reduces pain and speeds up healing.
·         RELAX –  Lie flat on your stomach with your arms beside your body and your head to one side. Relax for one or two minutes.
·         PELVIC  TILTS – Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, slowly tighten your stomach muscles and press your lower back  against the floor while relaxing slowly. This exercise slowly moves the spine and stretches the lower back.
·         WALK – Take a short walk on a level surface  no slopes) every three hours.

The frequency of back pain has increased tremendously over the years in all developing and developed countries. This is because we spend more time sitting at desks, in cars, or in front of the television.
Good posture, body mechanics, exercise, and maintaining an ideal body weight are all factors that will reduce the stress on your back, maintain flexibility, strengthen the muscles  that support the spine, maintain overall fitness and also reduce  the load on the lower back.

Improper posture puts too much stress on the back and can lead to discomfort and damage. The key to good back posture is to keep the right amount of curve in your lower back. Too much or too little curve can result in problems. The right amount of curve is called the “ neutral position.”
When you stand and walk with good posture, your ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle should be in a line. When you sit, keep your shoulders back and down, chin back, abdomen in, and your lower back supported in the neutral position. Slouching can stress the ligaments and muscles in your lower back. Avoid sitting in one position for more than one hour at a time. Get up and change positions often. Sleep in the neutral position. If you sleep on your back, use a towel roll to support your lower back. If you sleep on your side, try placing a towel between your knees.

Good body mechanics means practicing good  posture during daily activities and not just when you have back pain. Always keep your body in the  neutral  position. When you must stay in one position for long periods, take regular breaks to stretch and restore the neutral position of your back. When standing for long periods, stand with one foot on a small stool.
Do not bend forward from the waist to lift an object, keep the load as close to your body as possible, never lift a heavy object above shoulder level. Use a stool or ladder for items that are above your head and use a hand truck or ask someone to help with heavy objects.

Exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, stretching, curl-ups ,press ups, backward bends, shoulder lifts, and knee-to-chest, all help keep the back healthy, stretch the lower back muscles, as well as strengthen the stomach muscles and ligaments. They also relieve pressure on the bone facets where the vertebrae come together.
Some exercises s should however be avoided because they increase the risk of back pain. Exercises like:
·         Straight-leg sit ups.
·         Bent-leg sit-ups
·         Leg lifts while lying on your back.
·         Lifting heavy weights above the waist while standing.
·         Any stretching done while sitting with the leg in a v.
·         Toes touches while standing.
You may need to see a doctor immediately for your back pain if you are experiencing the following;
·         If you have loss of bowel or bladder control.
·         If you have numbness in the genital or rectal area.
·         If you have leg weakness that is not solely due to pain.
·         If you have new or increased back pain with unexplained fever, painful urination, or other signs of urinary tract infection.
·         If you have back pain that does not improve after one week of treating it at home.
·         If you develop a severe pain in your lower back that does not increase with movement, and is not related to stress or muscle tension.

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