What is a healthy back? Get to know more about a healthy back, causes of back pain and how to rebuild them. It consists of a healthier lifestyle, good body mechanics, and regular exercise
WHAT IS A HEALTHY BACK?
Being aware of how our back,muscles, and bones works will help us understand the importance of having a healthy back. Muscles and bones makes our back work. We should make an effort to keep our back strong, flexible, and well-balanced.
A healthy spine is a balanced neutral spine with 24 bones vertebrae aligned in three natural curves. These curves are Cervical Curve, Thoracic, and the Lumbar Curve. It becomes balanced when these curves are not exaggerated. Flexible joints slide and allows the movement and cushioned by discs. A disc is in between each of the vertebrae and whenever we move, the vertebrae press on these discs. A healthy disc is elastic that allows movement and that bounce back.
image via wikipedia
The bones and joints of a spine are supported by strong muscles and are padded in between by discs. These muscles keep our back supported, balanced and able to move. A weak muscle part can put stress on the spine balance that can cause back pain.
CAUSES OF BACK PROBLEM AND SAFE BODY MECHANICS
Body mechanics is the way you use your body when lifting, standing, sitting or lying down. It is proper to practice safe body mechanics such as safe lifting techniques, maintaining proper posture, supporting the back when standing as well as sitting.
Bad posture. Abusing our back with not standing straight, slumping in chair or sofa, improper sitting in front of the desktop computer or having a habit of slouching in bed while computing on a notebook computer with a bad posture can lead to a back problem through the years. It is advisable to put the notebook on a small table or flat area to be able to position the body properly.
image via flickr
When standing straight, muscles, and good posture keep the spine balanced and in neutral position. Abdominal muscles pull up in front and buttock muscles pull down in back to maintain the spine’s natural curve and helps standing in a longer period. There are jobs that require to always stand during the day without too much body movement. Keep your spine balance by placing one foot on a low stool.
When sitting, keep the spine in its balanced, neutral position by choosing a chair that supports the lower back. If not available, put a pillow or a rolled-towel to support your three natural curves. This is also important when driving, adjust the seat so the knees are above hip level, and ensure that the back is properly supported.
For sleeping, use a firm mattress. A too-soft mattress can cause the back to sag which can cause back strain. Sleeping on the side with knees bent to keep the spine in balance or put a pillow under the knees supports and releases stress on the lower back.
Unsafe Lifting. Muscle strength is important to support the spine, and avoid injury. The muscles in the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs are the most important muscles for the safety of the back.
When a sudden or imbalanced lift occurs (lifting a load that is too far in front of the person can put the spine out of its neutral position), the outer casing of the disc at the back tears from too much pressure that can cause low back pain. In time, the cushioning becomes narrow causing the vertebrae to grind together which can cause damage to the sensitive spinal nerves.
The ideal lift or the “squat” lift is the traditional method of safe lifting of objects. To do it, bend the knees not the waist and get close to the load. Tighten abdominal muscles and with your back straight, stand up. Let your leg and buttocks’ muscles do the lifting. Before lifting, check first if it can be done with another person or with the help of a mechanical help such as pushcart, forklift, wheelbarrow, and other mechanical tool that can prevent back injury.
Overweight or Out of Shape. Overweight or out of shape body (like a pot belly) are prone to back injury. The spine is pressured because of the weight being taken by the body. To back in shape, make an effort to control weight, eat well balanced meals, take enough calcium for the bones, and limit fats as well as sweets.
Rebuilding or maintaining a healthy back consists of a healthier lifestyle, safe body mechanics, and regular exercise. For unusual back pain, immediately consult a family doctor to prevent further damage to the back.
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