Four out of five people suffer back pain each year, and ten per cent of those experience significant disability as a result. So don’t take your back for granted and follow these simple tips from the Australian Physiotherapy Association to help you protect your back.
1. Make sure you’re lifting correctly
From groceries through to lifting goods at work, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend at the hips and knees. Grip the load firmly and hold it close to your body, tightening your stomach muscles and using the strong muscles of your legs to lift. Always keep your back as straight as possible, and gently breathe out. Avoid twisting – turn by using your feet, not your back.
2. Focus on your standing posture
Think tall: chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin tucked n and head level. Your posture should be stable, balanced and relaxed, when sitting, walking or standing.
3. Don’t stay seated for too long
Don’t stay seated for too long, ideally no more than 20 minutes. Even if you’re at work, stand up, stretch and walk around. The right back support will also help. Ensure your work station and computer are correctly positioned.
Good support from your car seat will prevent back pain. Adjust your seat to sit comfortably – and make sure you take regular breaks on long journeys. If you need more lower back support, use a lumbar roll or a rolled-up towel.
5. Sleep support is key
Your mattress should be firm enough to support your natural shape.
6. Exercise to keep your back strong
Stay in shape – maintaining a healthy body-weight will lessen the strain on your back. Your physiotherapist can show you how to keep your back flexible and strong with correct back and abdominal exercises.
7. Don’t Ignore The Pain
Last but not least, if your back hurts, don’t ignore the pain. Physiotherapists have the training to correctly assess the problem and provide safe, effective treatment. For rapid recovery, see your physiotherapists early!