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For many people, back pain seems like an unavoidable discomfort. But you may have more control than you think.
You can wreck your back in any number of ways, but a few major offenders stand out: not stretching, not paying attention to your movements and years of wear and tear, says nick shamie, md, associate professor of orthopedic neurosurgery at ucla and a spokesman for the American academy of orthopaedic surgeons.
Here are five habits that put your spine at risk and simple strategies to stop them before the damage is done.
Back wrecker #1: weekend warfare
'most often, I see people who injured themselves during a weekend basketball game or a round of golf' shamie says these people think they're athletes, but don't train like the pros, and as a result, their backs suffer'
Slideshow 10 health myths debunked start
Tackling those 'honey-do' lists at home can also set you up for injury, especially if you were idle for most of the week. Cleaning out the garage, bending over a workbench, or spending hours in the yard or garden can be just as hard on your back as anything you do on a playing field.
Prevent it'the only preventive solution I've found for back pain is exercise' says Michael Hisey, md, orthopedic surgeon and president of the texas back institute in Denton, texas's fix is to stretch and strengthen your core muscles'
The obliques -- the abdominal muscles on your sides -- are especially important for back stability, hisey tells webmd.
Hisey's tip: get an inflatable exercise ball. Use it in your workouts and sit on it, instead of a chair, to engage your abs.
Back wrecker #2: poor lifting technique
'improper bending and lifting causes back injury; that's all there is to it' says dan mcmackin, a spokesman for ups.
Prevent it: engage your abs to help support your back. Here are the basic principles that ups uses for safe lifting, according to mcmackin:
Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Don't bend at your waist.
Keep the object close to you. The farther away you hold it from your body, the more it stresses your back.
Never hold an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.
Don't move something that weighs more than 20% of your body weight.
Don't pivot, twist, or turn while lifting. Point your feet at the item you're lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist.
Back wrecker #3: absentmindedness during daily activity
Simple tasks like taking out the trash or washing the dishes can get your spine bent out of shape if your body isn't ready.
'the movement doesn't necessarily have to be exaggerated or involve a heavy object' hisey says you can hurt your back grabbing a paperclip off the floor or loading the dishwasher'
And if your mind is running on auto-pilot instead of focusing on what you're doing, you could be in trouble.
'at ups, we've seen a higher proportion of injuries occur at the end of the shift, due to fatigue of the mind and body' mcmackin says.
Prevent it: train yourself to keep your core muscles engaged.
Slideshow: surprising reasons you're in pain start
A simple way to do that is to pull your navel toward your spine and imagine you're wearing a corset that pulls the sides of your abs inward. Doing that throughout the day -- and especially when lifting or bending -- strengthens and supports your back, says esther gokhale, author of8 steps to a pain-free back and owner of esther gokhale wellness center in palo alto, calif.
Back wreckers #4 and #5: commuting and computing
You sit, and you sit, and you sit some more -- at work, while driving, and in front of the tv. And your back doesn't like it. Here's why.
Your discs are spongy and cushion the vertebrae in your spine, but discs have poor blood supply, hisey says. When you move, fluid circulates through the discs. When you sit still, the fluid is wrung out, so you're depriving discs of nutrition, he says. Spending so much time behind the wheel of a car or sitting in front of a computer adds mileage to our discs, which leads to stress in your back.
'the discs in your spine are nourished by motion' hisey says'so sitting still is hard on your back and neck, and can do long-term damage' studies have also shown that sitting puts more pressure on your spine than lying down or standing up.
'the worst posture is sitting and leaning forward' shamie says. This makes you lock your pelvis and flex your spine, putting pressure on the front of the vertebrae, where your discs are. The more you arch forward and exaggerate the curve of the spine, the more pressure you're putting on your discs this uneven pressure on a disc puts it at high risk of rupture' shamie explains.
Back wreckers #4 and #5: commuting and computing continued.
Prevent it: you're going to sit. So try these tactics to lessen its impact on your back:
Get up and move at least once every 20 minutes, unless you're driving. Set your screen saver to remind you; make a habit of going for a drink of water; when you answer the phone, stand up to stretch and change positions.
Keep your spine properly aligned by holding reading material at eye level (when sitting or standing) rather than bending over. Don't lean over a desk or table to work. Whenever possible, your spine should be straight.
Choose a chair that supports your back. Adjust the chair so that your feet stay flat on the floor. If the chair doesn't support your lower back's curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back. Remove anything from your back pockets, especially a wallet, if you'll be seated for long periods of time because this puts your spine out of alignment.
Gokhale suggests doing the following exercises to help lengthen your spine:
Get on your hands and knees. Reach your left arm straight ahead and straighten your right leg behind you. Use your stomach muscles to stabilize. Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly return to starting position. Switch arm and leg. Repeat 3-5 times on each side.
Sit tall, lengthen your spine, and let your shoulders relax. Concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your arms hanging at your sides. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then release. Repeat 10-20 times.
When I have sex with my partner. I feel that there are some pain in my legs or weakness. Kindly suggest.
I am 50 yr old male. I sliped on road a 5yrs ago and had some bad injuries to my legs. Now I am quite fine but sometimes my ankle pains and swells even my nerves at that point ache, making me unable to walk. I consulted relevant doctors and showed my scaning reports, they aren't able to find any problem, but my ankle aches not frequently but for about in 3months interval. Can I get any suggetion regarding my problem?
My weight is 92 kg I am 34 year old. I feel knee pain sometime but not always. When I drive more than 3 hrs it start paining a lot. Please suggest precautions to avoid knee pain .
Right knee is paining Cray shows gap in knee doctors advice replacement which I don't want to be Pl advice.
I am hanok I am suffering with leg neel joints I have used many ointments but its not working what should I do now.
Hello., I was suffering from muscle pull in my back. During weight lifting in the GYM at morning. please help me.
Hello Dr. I have some pain in my backbone from last 2-3 days. Do not know why? please give me some tips to remove this pain.
I am 21 years female. Day before yesterday midnight I had pain in upper back. I thought it to be acidity ate well took gelusil and also pan 40 before food. Stil pain persist, I am not able to sit, sleep.Is it acidity or back pain? What tablet to prefer?
I am suffering from pain and laziness from six days and I am not able to walk a minute so please give me best solution its my humble request to you.
After c section delivery 4 months back my wife suffer upper back pain inL3 L4 where the anaesthesia inject. What to do please suggest.
My husband 32 years old have pain below the left shoulder for last 15 days I have taken him to ortho doctor he gave tablet but no use what will be the problem
More than millions of people worldwide suffer from joint and knee ache on a daily basis. Usually, this type of pain comes with age, although it can also be a consequence of wearing uncomfortable shoes and having a poor body posture.
Luckily for those who have this health issue, there is a 100% effective and natural cure. The ingredients of this remedy are rich in magnesium and silicon, known as pain-soothing compounds that have the power to strengthen the tendons and ligaments as well.
Let's take a look at the recipe for the so called gelatin treatment:
2 tbsp of unflavored gelatin
A ripe banana
2 tbsp of honey
First, squeeze the orange. Next, peel off the banana and mash it. Afterwards, add the honey to the mashed banana. Then, dissolve the gelatin in water. Use a double boiler to heat it and improve its consistency. After you do this, warm up the orange juice a bit, and add the gelatin to it. Stir the mixture to prevent lumps.
Next, transfer the gelatin blend into molds and put them in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then, remove the gelatin from the molds, turning it upside down on a plate, and add the honey and banana mixture.