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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.