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Being flexible is not always about doing splits or doing some random bending. It is about achieving a level of mobility that will not hold you back from doing whatever you are able to do. Most people think that stretching or flexing your muscles and body as the first method to defend you from pain. But if stretching and flexing can be done correctly, it can lengthen one's muscles and give one relief from pains and aches. Stretching is also done to increase the functional range of one's joints and muscles. There are various ways by which one can stretch their muscles. However, the question which looms over here is which is the correct procedure and which is the wrong one.
The Wrong Vs the Right Way: Before discussing about the correct way, let us talk about the various wrong ways in which stretching can be done. The first rule is that if stretching is causing you pain or if it is hurting you, then you are probably taking it too far. A muscle needs to relax as much as possible, if it needs to stretch. If one is stretching so hard that he or she cannot relax then the muscle will not lengthen. Stretching should never be painful.
One should also avoid stretching for an insufficient length of time. Only a few seconds of stretching will not hold the therapeutic effects of stretching.
The following methods are few of the correct ways to stretch:
- Always start with the warm muscles. Warm your muscles by doing some aerobic movement or by applying heat with the help of a warm bath.
- After warming your muscles, monitor your level of discomfort. Let it go once you feel pain.
- Hold any stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Stretching the Correct Muscle: There are muscles, which need to be stretched and there are muscles, which should not be. So getting to know the correct muscles to be stretched is as important as knowing the correct procedure to stretch your muscles. Every muscle, which does not hurt should not be stretched. There are different types of muscles that cause pain like stiff, tight, short muscles and long muscles. Muscles that are tight should only be subjected to stretching. Stretching muscles that are too long is not a good idea.
Using Physiotherapists: Most people who cannot determine which muscle should be stretched and which should not be should consult a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists can quickly and easily diagnose muscular issues. They will also show ways to stretch which are most effective for particular needs.
Stretching should be made a part of one's life. It is a way by which one can become their healthiest self and avoid muscular imbalances.
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. 'The 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 PainStart
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.
What exactly is a spine block injection? Will it work long-term for low back pain Due to disc problems?
Poor posture while sitting, standing, lying down or moving around is a major cause for back pain. Sitting and standing for long time put considerable pressure on the lower back in fact, standing exerts up to five times more pressure than lying down, and sitting is even more strenuous.
Learn about the importance of good posture
Good posture can help prevent back pain, neck pain, muscle and ligament strains, compressed nerves and other injuries. It also has a number of other positive health effects and can be beneficial physically, mentally and emotionally. Good posture improves your appearance and helps you project self-confidence.
Recognize the symptoms of bad posture
Signs and symptoms of poor posture include slumped or rounded shoulders, protruding abdomen, excessive curve in the lower back (swayback) as well as back and neck pain and headaches. Problems in the neck is one of the major cause of headaches.
Maintain a healthy weight
Carrying excess weight can put extra strain on your back and abdominal muscles and lead to bad posture. Walking is one of the best ways to improve posture and lose weight.
Choose a firm mattress to support your spine
Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach the best sleeping position for your back is on your side with your knees bent. Make sure your pillow supports your neck in a straight position to prevent neck pain and sore muscles. Your mattress should not be too soft and too hard. Best is 40 density foam mattress.
Avoid wearing high heels and platform shoes
Make sure your shoes fit properly and offer good support especially when you're on your feet a lot during the day and when you're exercising. High heels throw your back out of line and adversely affect posture. They should be worn only for short periods of time, if at all.
Minimize stress on your lower back
Don't stand too long in one position. Rest one foot on a low stool or another stable object and frequently shift your weight from one leg to another. To relax, bend from your waist and let your head, neck, shoulders and arms hang down briefly.
Learn about sitting, posture and back pain
Extra pressure exerted on the back when sitting comes from the upper body shifting forward, forcing the back muscles to strain to hold you upright. Slouching increases pressure on your lower back 10 to 15 times more than lying down.
Choose a chair that firmly supports your lower back
For long periods of sitting, choose a straight chair without heavy padding. The chair should fit under your desk or table so that you maintain your upright posture. Armrests are helpful to support some of your weight, especially when shifting position.
Sit firmly back in your chair
Keep your shoulders against the chair back, your chest lifted, and your upper back straight. A rolled up towel or small lumbar pillow can provide extra support. When working at a desk, bring your chair close enough that you needn't lean over. Your feet should touch the floor comfortably.
Make adjustments while you work
If you're typing or working at a computer, make sure that all of your work is at a comfortable level. Looking up or down for long periods of time can put stress on your neck, shoulders and upper back muscles. If possible, get up, stretch and move around often.
Use proper techniques when lifting
Good posture is important—not only when sitting, standing or lying down, but also when moving and lifting whether at home or on the job. It's important to maintain good posture and lift with your legs and arms to reduce your risk for back pain.
Learn how to maintain good posture while driving
When driving, position your seat so that you can easily reach the steering wheel, brake and accelerator. If possible, try to adjust your knees slightly higher than your hips. On long drives, change your seat position occasionally and stop every couple of hours to stretch and walk around. Avoid slumping or sitting in a twisted position for example, with your elbow resting heavily on the windowsill. If your seat doesn't provide enough support, try a seat pad, rolled up towel or lumbar roll. Reposition your hands on the wheel frequently to reduce upper back and neck strain.
Know when to contact spine and pain specialist
If your back or neck pain worsens or becomes chronic in spite of home remedies to improve your posture, seek medical attention. Your doctor, on examination and depending on severity, may recommend diagnostic tests like x ray or mri. Physiotherapy and exercises should only be performed on advise of your doctor. You may ask your physiotherapist to discuss with your doctor.
Too much pain in my right arm. Even I dont pull out any haveay material. And the wrist also paining countinusly. What I do sir?
Sir, I have knee [pains from past 8 months. Now I am using pain relief gel for my knee pains, but haven't relief. What should I do? Suggest me a doctor.
Hello doctor, she is having chikungunya pain from 2 months and there is no improvement. And pain is too much she can not even go washroom herself due to joint pain. Please recommend some medicines.
I am 16 years old and I want to ask you about growing pains I have pain in calf muscles, joints & ankles of both of my legs but all doctors says that you are normal. My pain is worse at early in the morning and the pain keeps on going for the whole day and it gets less for 2-3hrs. In the evening and the PAIN start again. Sometimes it is intolerable. My all BLOOD REPORTS are normal. Cbc, alp, crp, ra factor, anticcp, vitamin&B12, hlab27 are all NORMAL. Is it growing pain, is it normal for me. If it is growing pain why don't I feel it b/w 11 to 14 yrs. Because my height rapidly grows at that time but why now it is paining. Please help me I have changed more than 8Doctors Please help me.
I have some problem with my leg in my left leg near the knee I have some pain and I don' t know why it' s happen like this. And knee cap also came some out means inside of skin while walking I have some pain. I am just 20 years man tell me what I have to do?
Few daily habits to get rid of Back Pain
Hi I am Dr. Sidharth Verma and today I will tell you about Back Pain and how to prevent back pain. So back pain is, one of the most common pain which hampers the activities of mankind and it is so common that all of us will suffer from it at some point in our lifetime.
So how can you prevent that?
You can very easily prevent back pain and most of the cases which we see in our daily practice are due to lifestyle disorders and some other factors. So as far as lifestyle is concerned. Humans, when they evolved and became erect, so their back pain is the cost they have to give; and as the back is made of very small, small bones which are known as vertebrae. This is a model of the human back, you can see there are small, small bones which make up the back and there are a lot of small intervertebral discs in between. These are the structures that provide cushion and hold the vertebrae and there are a lot of small, small joints and many nerves and structures which are coming out, therefore, the back is a very complex structure and if you do not maintain it properly then you might have back pain. Now, this is all complicated stuff. Furthur, I will tell you how to easily prevent it.
First and foremost is which you can do from day 1 is maintain adequate hydration. Human body is 70% water, and if you see the back, The back has intervertebral discs and they are 90% water. So if you are not hydrated well then you will probably have more problems.
Number 2 is to control your body weight. So it has been seen that in patients or in persons who are obese, this problem occurs more. That is, they have more back pain. The causes are many but you should try to control your weight this will result in lesser back pain.
Number 3 is proper posture while you are you are doing your jobs or in your workplace or while you are driving or you are travelling. By proper posture, I mean that you should always sit with your back straight, and not hunching forward. This is one of the techniques.
Number 4 you should avoid sitting for long period of time without taking a break. This will help you to redistribute the weight of the back to different muscles and this will avoid fatigue, thereby resulting in lesser incidence of back pain.
Number 5 is selecting ergonomic furniture. Ergonomic furniture means which is designed for your body. If you go to the market usually the furniture and the kind of furniture you will get is designed more or less for a similar kind of individual maybe 5 ft 5 inches height or maybe who is sitting for a few hours. However, in actual practice, if you see that nobody is the same so everyone is different and hence you will need to have ergonomic furniture which will be specifically designed for you or there is kind of furniture available which has lots of keys or levers with which you can adjust the height, for example, the chair or the table where you are going to sit or at your workplace, you can get it all adjusted. And it may seem very difficult but if you actually start doing it is very easy. Most of the chairs which we use in our offices, they are rolling chairs which have adjustable levers and height as well as the seat quality and backrest all of it can be adjusted. Similarly the height of the tables can also be adjusted in many cases, if not all. So you can have these ergonomic furniture and this also will help.
Another factor which is responsible for majority of back pain, is unaccustomed activity. By unaccustomed activity I mean, that if you are not used to a particular activity and you do it once then probably you will have some problems. Say for example there is a folder which is kept at a height and you want to fetch it and you stretch your hand and you stretch it so much that your back muscles and your full arms, hand has to stretch so much which is unphysiological. So in these cases, it may result in micro injuries or macro injuries and this may result in back pain. Another common example can be, while lifting heavy loads. So in our routine structure, most of the people are sitting or doing jobs which do not involve lifting of heavy loads. So if you lift some heavy load on one particular day say for example, I got something to install in my house and when that thing comes and I lift it and I try to fit somewhere then that is unaccustomed for me because I am not doing it every day. So this may result in unaccustomed stress and sprains and strains to my back and this may result in back pain. So these are how you can prevent it.
Another very common cause is sleeping on very soft mattress or sleeping for inadequate amount of time. Some people have a habit of surfing mobile phone for a long period of time and they sleep on their table chair maybe on their bed with unphysiological postures. So these will result in increased incidents of back pain. Another common cause which you can prevent is while travelling. So if you are travelling and you are driving a car for example you should adjust your seat so that your back is always upright. And while taking the support, many people ask me if it is helpful to use fancy supports that are available for the car seats. The answer is no. They will not help you. In most cases, they are just fancy items and they will not help you. However, straightening your seat will help you a lot. If you straighten your seat to a point where you are sitting independently and you are seeking only the lower back support from your seat and you are sitting on your own then probably the chances of you getting back pain are less.
Another common thing which you can apply when you are travelling is do not drive for extended period of hours like, I have seen people who drive for maybe 6 hours at a stretch so if this is done occasionally or frequently then it may result in back pain. So if you can avoid and take a break maybe around 45 minutes to an hour every 45 minutes or an hour you can stop and walk around maybe for one or two minutes or you can get out of your car or you can just get down and have a break then you can continue driving so you can drive in bits and bytes then you can travel long distances also. But please be sure to take a small break at least so that your back is not strained unnecessarily.
Another common reason why people come with this back pain are these motorcycle riders or scooter riders who are travelling these long distances throughout the day. What they often do is that they carry these bags. So they carry these bags and backpacks and they funnily carry it on one shoulder. So it will be like a strap and they will carry it on one shoulder and they will do this throughout the day and then after one month or two months they will start having a pain on one side. So this one-sided stress is one of the reasons why people have back pain. If you are not driving a vehicle, then also if you are carrying a load or a backpack or if you are a student or if you are an office goer who has to carry these laptops. Because I have often seen these laptops come in suitcases or briefcases and obviously you have to carry them with one hand. SO it is better to switch from these one handed or one sided carrying devices to devices or bags which are distributing the load equally to both shoulders and back. So that the load is distributed and there is no asymmetrical stress that is the back, on one side, is not stressed unnecessarily.
Another common reason for people who travel a lot is that their legs are not properly placed. So, in addition to the back of the seat, the height of the seat also plays a role. In majority of vehicles however, the height is not an adjustable portion. So the one thing you can do is, you can go forward or you can go backwards that is towards the steering and away from the steering. This mechanism is available for most of the cars or most of the vehicles and with the help of this, you can have enough distance between the steering and your body so that your thighs are touching your seat till the point they can leave the seat that is until the maximum point they should be able to touch the seat. So this will again be helpful to reduce the stress on the back.
Another common cause of back pain is the lack of exercise. For exercise, I don’t mean well I don’t advise that you should go to the gym and lift weights or something like that. But by exercise, I mean exercises like walking. Even simple walking is one of the best exercises for back, swimming or even cycling, or even exercises for your abs. You may underestimate the importance of the exercises for your abs but you should know that abs they support the back to a great extent and weak abs or abdominal muscles are the common causes of back pain in healthy adults.
Other than these, there are causes like nutritional causes. By nutritional causes I mean the deficiency of specific nutrients in your diet. This may be deficiency of Vitamin D .This is one of the most common deficiencies which I see in my practice that most of the people who come to me with these deficiencies they are normal healthy individuals otherwise but due to some reasons, they have this Vitamin D deficiency. Many of them are non-vegetarians so it is a myth that you cannot have Vitamin deficiency if you are a non-vegetarian. So you may have deficiency of Vitamin D, which is necessary for the calcium metabolism and in the deficiency of this Vitamin you are more likely to have weak bones and this pain.
In elderly individuals, however, you may have other causes of weak bones and they may also lead to this back pain. So last but not the least, we have population which is ageing now. So we have more number of people who are above 40 years of age. In these people there are conditions known as degenerative conditions which is, due to age, the body starts degenerating. So if you don’t use your body properly, it will start to degenerate. In many people, who are using the body properly also, due to genetic reasons, and environmental factors, it starts to degenerate. So in these patients there are lot of conditions that develop, and these may affect the intervertebral discs, the joints of the back, the muscles, as well as the ligaments. So these conditions can lead to the back pain in this age group, the elderly age groups that is. So these are the common causes and if you are careful enough, you can easily prevent them and help yourself to prevent your back pain. Prevention is always better than cure, so I will strongly recommend that you take my advice and follow these steps, and you are less likely to have back pain.
To know more, you can always visit my Lybrate website on www.lybrate.com/drsidharthverma or you can also visit my website www.pain.org.in. Thank You.