Audio of this story
Back pain is a common reason for absence from work; it can be uncomfortable and draining. It can result cause injury and some medical conditions.
Back pain can affect people of any age, for different reasons. As people get older, the lower back pain increases due to factors such as sitting posture, occupational activities and degenerative disk disease.
Strain, structural problems, movement and posture
Exercise: Regular exercise helps build strength and control body weight. Guided low-impact aerobic activities can boost heart health without straining or jerking the back. Before starting any exercise program, talk to a health care professional.
Posture when standing: Make sure you have a neutral pelvic position. Stand upright, head facing forward, back straight, and balance your weight evenly on both feet. Keep your legs straight and your head in line with your spine. If you regularly use a computer, it is important to ensure that you have a chair with good back support and adopt a good posture and head position.
Posture when sitting: A good seat for working should have good back support, arm rests and a swivel base. When sitting, try to keep your knees and hips level and keep your feet flat on the floor, or use a footstool.
You should ideally be able to sit upright with support in the small of your back. If you are using a keyboard, make sure your elbows are at right-angles and that your forearms are horizontal.
Lifting: When lifting things, use your legs to do the lifting rather than your back.Keep your back as straight as you can, keep your feet apart with one leg slightly forward so you can maintain balance.
Bend only at the knees, hold the weight close to your body, and straighten the legs while changing the position of your back as little as possible.
Bending your back initially is unavoidable, but when you bend your back, try not to stoop, and be sure to tighten your stomach muscles so that your pelvis is pulled in. Most importantly, do not straighten your legs before lifting, or you will be using your back for most of the work.
Driving: It is important to have proper support for your back. Make sure the wing mirrors are properly positioned so you do not need to twist. The pedals should be squarely in front of your feet. If you are on a long journey, have plenty of breaks. Get out of the car and walk around.
Bed: You should have a mattress that keeps your spine straight, while at the same time supporting the weight of your shoulders and buttocks. Use a pillow, but not one that forces your neck into a steep angle.
By Nana Adjoa Peprah Cann