Back pain is very common, particularly in the lower back. Most people will experience back pain at some point, and it can normally resolve without medical intervention. Usually, it improves after a few weeks, however, it can last longer. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent and reduce the pain.
What is posture?
Posture is the position you hold your body in when standing or sitting.
Some of us spend a lot of time in a chair for work or even just at home. Slouching in your chair may not feel uncomfortable in the moment; however, over time, this repeated poor posture can have long term effects on your spine.
If you stand for long periods of time, you may experience pain. This can be in in the lower back and thighs.
There are simple ways you can fix your posture such as:
Check your workstation and adjust it to suit your needs.
Make sure you have a chair with good back support.
Change the way sit so you are sat up straight.
Make sure you are standing straight and tall with your shoulders back.
Keep your head level and in line with your body.
Keep your feet a shoulder-width apart.
Keep your back against the back rest of the chair so your shoulders sit in line with your hips.
Your elbows should rest comfortably by your sides and be bent at approximately 90 degrees (right angle), with your forearms parallel to the floor.
Your knees should be level with your hips, and your feet flat on the floor. You may need a footrest if your feet don’t comfortably rest flat on the floor.
Your eye-line should fall in the top 1/3 of your screen to avoid straining your neck up or down.
Lifting and handling loads incorrectly is another common cause of back pain. It is important not to carry loads that are too heavy for you and if it hurts or you are struggling, get someone to help you or use an appropriate tool.
Here are some easy steps that you can follow to make sure you are lifting correctly.
plan your lift
start in a stable position
keep the load close to your waist
keep your back as straight as possible
avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways
avoid lifting heavy loads
push heavy objects, don't pull them
distribute the weight evenly
Getting regular exercise is good for your body and your mental health. Taking breaks from sitting for long periods of time can help your back. It can also help with the rest of your body too.
Back pain can severely affect your quality of life and get in the way of doing things you enjoy. Think about what’s important to you – is it your independence, being able to play with your children or grandchildren, being able to play your favourite sport, gardening, DIY... how would you feel if you couldn’t do these things because of severe pain? This can be a good motivator to take care of your back.
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