Updated: Apr 8, 2018
In the UK, back problems are the leading cause of disability with nearly 119 million days a year lost: one in eight unemployed people give back pain as the reason they are not working (1) and low back pain is estimated to affect at least 60% to 80% of the population at some time in their lives (2)
With such sobering statistics there has never been a better time to take a look at back care and how to look after your own back. There is such a lot you can do to promote a healthy back.
Here are 5 top tips to get you started
1. Do a quick body scan regularly throughout the day.
Do you feel upright and connected as you sit or are you feeling some slouching is coming in. Are you walking tall feeling open in your chest area or have you allowed your posture to lapse into a hunch?
2. Exercise regularly.
Walking and swimming are excellent ways to improve general fitness and strength. Remember it is quality that counts. As you do these activities let go of any drive or pushing hard to clock up the distances or lengths. Instead, stay with the flow and rhythm in your body and move gently being guided by your body as to how far to go.
3. Take time to position yourself if you have to lift objects.
Stay close to the object and if you do have to bend down to lift use the strong thigh and buttock muscles as much as possible by bending at the hips and knees. Always stay present with the task at hand being aware of your body throughout the movement.
4. Try to avoid carrying loads.
If you do need to carry things use a rucksack and avoid sling bags. And regularly check your handbag, emptying what is no longer required. Your back will love the lighter load.
5. Always give attention to your sitting position.
When you can, use a chair with a backrest. Sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a footrest. Change how you sit every few minutes by making small adjustments or standing and stretching your spine. Having a small rolled up towel in at your lower spine can be a loving support too.
Awareness and self-care are our number one tools towards healthy living including healthy backs. How much can you care for yourself and your body today?
1. Macfarlane, G.J., Thomas, E., Croft, P.R., Papageorgiou, A.C., Jayson, M.I., Silman, A.J., 1999. Predictors of early improvement in low back pain amongst consulters to general practice: the influence of pre-morbid and episode-related factors.. Pain, Pain 80, 113-9.