Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Strong and Healthy Back

Back pain is usually the result of lifestyle, ageing or accident. Good lifestyle habits – correct posture, good lifting techniques and plenty of exercise for a strong, flexible back – will keep your risk of back pain to a minimum.

The key to maintaining a healthy back is to be aware not only of your posture, but also of the everyday movements that place your spine and back muscles under unnecessary pressure.

1.Assess your posture regularly, both sitting and standing – it’s easy to pick up bad habits without noticing. Take a good look at yourself whenever you pass a mirror.

2.Change your position regularly. If you have to stay in one position for an extended period of time, at a desk, for example, try to take a break every 20 minutes or so to move around and stretch.

3.Avoid wearing high heels for long periods. High heels accentuate the normal curve of your back and tip your pelvis, which can contribute to knee and back problems.

4.Use both shoulders when you are wearing a backpack. If you carry a heavy bag, a briefcase or a suitcase, try to alternate the arm that you use to carry it.

5.Watch your wallet when you are sitting down. A bulging wallet in your back pocket can place pressure on the sciatic nerve.

6.Don’t snooze in front of the TV as an armchair or sofa won’t take pressure off your lower spine. Snoozing prevents you shifting when your back start to feel uncomfortable.

Good sports for bad backs include:

Swimming and other water based activities such as aquaerobics are useful because water counteracts some of the effects of gravity, reducing compression in the lower spine. Swimming is low impact and warm water can help to ease muscle spasm. Backstroke is particularly beneficial as it opens up the chest and shoulders.

Walking is low impact and helps to strengthen the back and stomach muscles without placing them under too much sprain. Try to walk with your body held tall and always wear supportive, well-cushioned shoes.

Tai chi and Yoga are both enjoyable ways to improve mobility, flexibility and muscle tone. The deliberate, flowing movements of tai chi and the controlled stretching required by the yoga poses encourage good postural awareness without straining and jarring your back.

Click link to read Yoga For Back Pain & Problems for yoga poses for stretching the spine to help reduce back pain.

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