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If you are like most people, you've probably had a backache at one time or another. Statistics show that upwards of 90% of the population will experience some type of low back pain at some point in their lifetime. Low back pain can range in intensity from an annoying ache to incapacitating pain that could prevent you from working or even getting out of bed.
First, you must be aware of the many factors that can contribute to the problem. These can include poor muscle flexibility in the hips and legs, weak abdominal muscles, and weak low back muscles. Pain can also be triggered by prolonged sitting and/or standing, lifting and carrying heavy objects, and from job-related stress. It can even be brought on by a violent sneeze or cough that can cause a spasm in the back. In some cases, inflamed tissues, joints, or bones caused by an infection or immune system problem can spark low back pain.
As you can see, there are a number of variables in our lives that can lead to low back pain. The good news is that there are some very quick and easy exercises that can be performed at home (and at work if you are brave) to significantly reduce the chances of experiencing back pain. You can find a description of these stretches and strengthening exercises at the end of the article.
Do you have a hard time finding even a minute to spare even for some simple exercise? Then ALWAYS follow these tips as you go through your normal daily activities to help lower your risk of low back pain:
- When lifting any object, keep it close to your body, bend with your knees and hips, and keep your back straight.
- When sitting, use a straight-backed chair and try to flatten your spine against the back of the chair.
- When standing for a prolonged time, use a footrest for one foot-this helps keep your back straight.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects higher than your waist.
One last important point:
Not all back pain is the same. Stiffness, general aching, pain down the legs, and limited motion are all characteristics of low back pain. Any back pain that is accompanied by loss of bowel or bladder control, difficulty in moving your legs, or numbness or tingling in your arms or legs may indicate an injury to your spine and nerves. If you experience these types of symptoms, contact your physician immediately.
This article has been re-printed with permission of Sports Physical Therapy Institute. For additional information and articles be sure to visit their website at http://www.sportspti.com/