Chances are, you’ve probably experienced back pain at some point. In fact, I did during pregnancy and it's estimated that around eight out of ten people in the UK will suffer from backache during their lifetime. While not usually considered a serious health risk, the pain caused can be extremely debilitating and make everyday tasks more of a challenge than they should be. If you want to keep your spine in tip top condition, here are three common causes of back pain and how to avoid them.
1. Poor sleeping posture
Sleeping in an unsupported position can cause pressure points along the spine. Most health experts recommend for you to try to avoid lying flat on your back or stomach as this can cause back pain to worsen and leave you feeling sore and stiff in the morning. To relieve strain on your back, sleeping on your side with your knees slightly drawn up to your chest is generally considered the healthiest posture. If you have to sleep on your back, lying with your head and legs slightly raised can help to support the natural curve of the spine. To maintain this position through the night, try propping a pillow under your knees. For a more long-term solution, adjustable beds can help you enjoy a number of comfortable sleeping postures with ease.
2. Sitting for long periods of time
Long periods of inactivity are another well known cause of backache. If you work in a job that involves sitting at a desk or you regularly drive long journeys in the car, the natural tendency is to hunch or slouch down in your chair. However, while this may feel comfortable at first, it can cause added pressure on the spine and overstretch the muscles in the lumbar region. To avoid these postural problems, you’ll need to make a conscious effort to sit properly. Your buttocks should be pressed against the back of the chair with your shoulders held back, your arms relaxed by your sides and your feet flat on the floor. Bear in mind that you may need to adjust your seat to ensure your spine is properly supported. Taking regular breaks to walk and stretch can also help to stave off aches and pains.
3. Awkward bending and lifting incorrectly
It might sound obvious, but lifting heavy objects and bending awkwardly can wreak havoc on your back. In some cases, it can lead to spinal injury and chronic pain. To avoid damaging your spine, it’s important to know how to lift correctly and avoid any imbalanced bending or twisting postures. Never lift anything that you think is too heavy and always ask for help or use handling support equipment for large items. When bending down to pick up an object, make sure your feet are slightly apart, bend your knees rather than your back and let your legs do the work.
By following simple tips like these, you should be able to maintain healthy posture and keep your back strong and supple.