Here is some advice about back care, including lifting advice, how to sit properly, and back-strengthening exercises.
- Take regular exercise. Walking, swimming (especially backstroke) and using exercise bikes are all helpful ways to strengthen your back muscles.
- Always bend your knees and hips – not your back.
- Learn to lift heavy objects using the correct lifting technique.
- Carry larger loads in a comfortable rucksack using both shoulder straps, and avoid sling bags.
- Maintain a good posture – avoid slumping in your chair, hunching over a desk, or walking with your shoulders hunched.
Try to take a short break from sitting every 30 minutes.
- Cut down, or better still, quit smoking – it is thought smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs between the vertebrae, and this may lead to these discs degenerating.
- Lose any excess weight. The more you weigh, the greater the stress on your spine. If you are overweight, losing even 10% to 15% of your body weight can help keep your spine healthy. If you are severely overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss program that will allow you to safely lose weight.
- Check that your bed provides the correct support and comfort for your weight and build, not just firmness. Sleep in a good neutral spine position.
- Learn relaxation techniques to help manage stress. Stress is a major cause of back pain.
Never twist and bend at the same time.
- Always sit on a chair with a back rest and sit with feet flat on the floor. Change your sitting position every few minutes.
- First thing in the morning don’t put immediate demands on your back – give it 30 minutes to warm up.
- Do your checks and balances. See your doctor regularly for check-ups. If you have neck pain or back pain, be sure to get it checked out. Left untreated, some spine conditions can continue to get worse and may have serious health consequences.