Back pain and related symptoms are some of the most common and debilitating conditions challenging the health profession today. The most effective means of treating back related symptoms is through preventative education and early intervention. Most people know that smoking causes lung cancer, but how many people realize that prolonged slumped sitting and repeated improper lifting can lead to early degeneration of the lumbar spine? How many people know that smoking can contribute to the degeneration of the disks in their spinal column?
What Causes Back Pain?
The most common causes of back pain are a culmination of poor posture and faulty body mechanics. Good posture is an individual’s ability to maintain his or her spine in a balanced anatomical position for the majority of the day. Proper body mechanics is the ability to avoid excessive stress on a particular area while performing a designated task.
How Can Posture Be Improved?
Poor posture is rarely something that develops overnight. It is a learned process which is affected by a number of factors. Excessively tall people sometimes slump and lean against objects so they don’t stick out in a crowd. This is an example of a social factor influencing posture. Another factor is adaptation to our environment. Most of today’s chairs and sofas are designed in such a manner that they flex the back and pitch the neck into a forward head posture. This can put excessive stress on the muscles and ligaments of the spine. Over time these structures can degenerate and cause chronic back pain and dysfunction. Your spine can actually weaken until the pain radiates from your back all the way down to your leg when you bend over. Hopefully your back will never become this severely degenerated.
THE PROPER BODY MECHANICS OF LIFTING
- KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND CHIN TUCKED.
- HAVE A STABLE & BALANCED BASE OF SUPPORT.
- KEEP WHATEVER YOU ARE LIFTING AS CLOSE TO YOU AS POSSIBLE. “10 LBS. = 100 LBS.”
- TEST THE LOAD BEFORE YOU LIFT.
- BEND YOUR KNEES AND HIPS; LIFT WITH YOUR LEGS.
- LIFT SMOOTHLY AND DO NOT JERK AS YOU LIFT.
- GET HELP IF IT IS TOO HEAVY.
- WHEN CARRYING AN OBJECT KEEP IT CLOSE TO YOUR BODY.
- PIVOT WITH YOUR FEET INSTEAD OF TWISTING.
- SQUAT LIFT
- DIAGONAL LIFT
- GOLFER’S LIFT
- STRAIGHT LEG LIFT – REACH AND LIFT
- TEAM LIFT – WORK TOGETHER
RISK FACTORS FOR BACK PROBLEMS
- POOR POSTURE AND BODY MECHANICS
- FREQUENT HEAVY LIFTING
- INFLEXIBILITY OF THE SPINE
- LACK OF PROPER EDUCATION
- SMOKERS ARE 2-3 X MORE LIKELY TO NEED LOW BACK SURGERY
- LACK OF GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION
- MUSCLE IMBALANCES:
- – TIGHTNESS WEAKNESS
- – HIPFLEXORS ABDOMINAL
- – HAMSTRINGS QUADRICEPS
- – PECTORALS GLUTEAL MUSCLES
- – SCAPULA STABILIZERS
- PROLONGED SITTING AND DRIVING
SPINAL ANATOMY & TERMINOLOGY
VERTEBRAE -THE BONES THAT STACK UP ON TOP OF ONE ANOTHER TO COMPRISE THE SPINE
INTERVERTEBRAL DISK -THE SHOCK ABSORBERS BETWEEN THE VERTEBRAE
LIGAMENTS -TISSUE THAT HOLDS TWO BONES TOGETHER AT A JOINT
TENDONS -TISSUE THAT CONNECTS A MUSCLE TO A BONE
SACRUM -TRIANGULAR BONE AT THE BASE OF THE SPINE
COCCYX -TAIL BONE
SACRO ILIAC JOINT (SI) -THE POINT WHERE THE PELVIS MEETS THE SACRUM