19-25 May, 2014 is Spinal Health Week in Australia. The chiropractic theme for Spinal Health Week 2014 is “Live Better, We’ve Got Your Back”. With that in mind, we are dedicating this month’s newsletter to spinal health.
Our spine is a sophisticated structure composed of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. We can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture discs and irritate joints – all of which can cause back pain.
While we can all understand how accidents and sports injuries can cause back pain, sometimes even the simplest of movements (like picking a pencil up from the floor) can produce painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity and emotional stress can cause or complicate back pain.
Back pain can also directly result from a number of other health conditions such as kidney stones, kidney infections or osteoporosis (loss of bone). As spinal experts, chiropractors are trained to differentiate the cause of your back pain and make the appropriate referral if necessary.
The best way to manage back pain is to avoid it in the first place.
Tips to Prevent Back Pain
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight
- Remain active, under the supervision of your chiropractor
- Avoid prolonged inactivity, such as sitting and bed rest
- Warm-up or stretch before physical activity (gardening, exercise, etc.)
- Maintain proper posture
- Wear comfortable, low heeled shoes
- Sleep on a mattress with appropriate firmness
- Ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct
- Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time
- When lying on your back, place a pillow under your knees
- When laying on your side, place a pillow between your bent knees
- Lift correctly:
- Lift with your knees
- Keep the object close to your body
- Do not twist when lifting
For over 115 years, chiropractors have specialised in promoting healthy spines. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your spinal health, do not hesitate to contact your chiropractor. “We’ve got your back”.
Stretch of the Month
Single Knee to Chest
- Begin by lying on your back with both knees bent.
- Bring one knee up towards your chest.
- Perform 2-3 repetitions, holding each one for 15-30 seconds.
- You may feel a stretch along the lower back or buttocks area.
- You may also perform this with both legs up towards your chest if it is comfortable.
Change one Bad Habit at a Time
You may have a few vices you would like to be rid of, but it is important that you don’t try to break all your bad habits at once. You’re not superhuman and trying to kick a smoking habit, give up chocolate and stop biting your nails all at the same time is probably going to be hard to achieve. Instead, prioritise and pick the habit you most urgently need to change first. Also, try to set a definite goal to work towards rather than a vague “I’m going to stop being so unhealthy”. Identify what exactly it is you need to do (or stop doing) and make that your focus.
Find a solid reason for breaking your habit that really means something to you — such as improving your health, appearance or relationship — and keep your goal in sight. Reminding yourself regularly of the bigger picture and the reasons why you are doing this will help you to carry on and stay strong in moments of weakness.