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Doctors who focus exclusively on pain symptoms often recommend
treatment that is the exact opposite of what is actually needed. Historically,
doctors have treated back pain with bed rest and heavy drugs to mask
the patient’s discomfort. However, this type of treatment is actually
more damaging to the back. It causes back muscles to weaken, which leads
to more strain and pain. Patients became dependent on drugs and grew
inactive and disabled.
Pain relief can actually be achieved through movement.
Low-impact sports such as walking and swimming are ideal in making the
back feel better and stronger.
Working with a therapist may
be necessary for optimal recovery from back or neck pain. Therapists
are able to relieve pain using specialized techniques, tissue and joint
mobilization, and personalized exercises. A therapist is also trained
to recognize the boundaries of back and neck pain patients, in order
to maximize therapy without causing further injury.
Preventing Low Back Pain & Neck Pain
Proper multi-disciplinary rehabilitation programs
are structured around returning patients to the tasks of everyday life.
Once the collaborative effort has paid off, and this has been achieved,
it is important to prevent future back attacks. In just about any job
situation, there are going to be hazards that need to be avoided, whether
it’s sitting at a desk or working in a warehouse.
Sitting at a Desk
You may have encountered the term "ergonomics," which
is surfacing more and more in the workplace. Ergonomics is a science
concerned with designing and arranging things people use in the safest
and most efficient manner possible.
Ergonomics is often applied to people who sit at
a desk all day. While it seems harmless, sitting for long periods of
time can actually cause back pain. It unloads weight on the back, especially
if the chair is poorly designed.
The basic rules of desk related ergonomics:
- Make sure your chair molds properly to your back. Many
employers concerned with the safety of their workers purchase chairs
that support the low back. If you are too short or too tall for your
back to rest properly in these chairs, or if your company does not
offer ergonomically designed chairs, consider bringing in a rolled-up
towel. Place it behind your low back to reduce the amount of stress
on the back and help prevent low back pain.
- Make sure your feet rest flat on the floor. If this
is a problem, use a footstool. Proper foot and leg alignment will ease
- While typing on a computer, your forearms and thighs
should be parallel to ensure proper shoulder alignment. If necessary,
use a pad to support your wrists while typing.
- When you type, your neck should not have to crane constantly,
as your eyes dart from keyboard to monitor. The monitor should be at
eye-level or slightly below eye-level.
- Get up and move around every half hour, even if its
just a quick stretch by the side of your desk. Your back enjoys movement,
so reward it occasionally.
for Long Periods
Many jobs involve standing for long periods
of time, such as teachers and cashiers. People rarely equally distribute
their weight onto both legs while standing. Instead, they tend
to shift their weight from one side to another, throwing the spine
out of alignment, which can lead to back strain.
If you have difficulty standing without shifting
weight, try standing with one leg on a footrest, periodically switching
feet. Take a minute every now and then to do back
exercises; that will help loosen up stiffness.
and Back Pain
Muscles were designed to move and stretch. Sitting
pulls muscles into a shortened position, causing stiffness. Also,
the sciatic nerve, which runs between the spine and thighs, can
be compressed by the weight of sitting for a long time.
Just like at a desk job, driving for a long period
of time can cause strain on the back. Many seats in cars are designed
to support the spine properly, but even if your car was designed
ergonomically, your height may differ from the height of the person
the seat was designed for.
Be sure to remove your wallet from your back pocket
before a long drive, as it can place pressure on the sciatic nerve.
To prevent back pain, stop and stretch every hour or so to keep
muscles loosened up. Feel it out. If your back hurts after a long
drive, roll up a towel and place it behind your low back to support
Heavy Objects at Work
A long drive in the car is often followed by an
attempt to yank heavy suitcases out of the trunk. Watch out. Your
back is at high risk of injury. Even if you have not been driving
long distances, lifting heavy objects might be a normal part of your
day-to-day tasks at work. Accidents are prone to occur during improper
lifting. Mothers are also at risk when it comes to heavy lifting.
Lifting a child can cause back strain if not done properly. To learn
how to lift properly, click
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