Back Care Tips to Prevent and
Relieve Back Pain
Let's look at some basic back care tips to reduce your risk of back pain and to help relieve any current pain. Three important factors in taking care of your back are correct body mechanics, exercise, and good posture.
Body mechanics refers to how you use your body in all your activities. Here are a few tips:
- When standing, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight evenly distributed between both feet.
- Move from your center of gravity, located an inch or two below your navel. Moving using your upper body, which many people tend to do, is less efficient and requires more physical effort and tension than moving from your center. Take a movement class that emphasizes moving from the center or ask a movement specialist for advice.
- To pick up something from the floor, kneel on one knee.
- When you lift a heavy object, stand close to it. Squat and use your legs to lift, keeping your back straight and the object close to your body. Avoid twisting as you lift.
- When you reach for an overhead object, make sure your shoulders and hips face the object, and avoid twisting.
- If you work at a desk, get up and move around as often as you can. Also, make sure you have good computer ergonomics. Choose an office chair that provides back support. See some back care products.
Strong, flexible muscles are important in maintaining a healthy back. You want to focus on both the back muscles and the abdominal muscles, along with general body conditioning. If you already have back problems, the best thing to do is consult a physical therapist or exercise specialist for an exercise program tailored to your needs.
See tips for starting an exercise program.
Many people have the wrong idea about posture. It's not some rigid position but rather a fluid, dynamic alignment of your body as you go about your daily activities.
Many factors contribute to poor posture, including muscle imbalances. Massage therapy can help improve posture by stretching short muscles and fascia (the connective tissue around muscles and other tissues), creating better movement around the joints and relaxing tight muscles that can pull your body out of alignment.
See a few back massage techniques. Massaging and relaxing the abdominal muscles is also often important. Plus, the psoas muscle also affects posture and often plays a role in back pain.
Photo Credit: Flying DutchJan [CC-BY-SA-3.0]