A recent report published in conjunction with the charity BackCare cited that 13,000,000 working days are lost in th UK every year due to back-related problems.
The skeleton structure of the back and neck is very complex. A combination
of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons serves not only to protect the
central nervous system, but also as the extraordinary basis of body strength,
posture and upper body flexibility.
The important thing to remember when dealing with spinal problems is that
not all lumbar or neck pain will be serious - it's just feels that way because
the back is used in every key movement we make (lying, sitting, raising,
walking carrying, bending etc.).
If you are suffering from any sort of back problem, let me take this opportunity
to suggest that you book in to see a doctor, GP or physiotherapist as soon
as possible; lumbar or neck problems very rarely disappear without the intervention
of medical help.
If you are fortunate enough not to suffer from back problems, then I suggest
you still read on, as prevention is better than a cure.
Building a strong and flexible back is the best way to prevent backache.
When developing any exercise plan it is important that you include strength
work targeting the muscles that support the spine - abdominal muscles, the
lumbar muscles, the mid-back muscles and the muscles that support the neck
and head. This will create a 'shell' or 'sheath' of protection around the
skeleton of the back.
Exercise should range from floor work (stomach, lower back and core stability)
to core stretches targeting the back and neck (knees to chest stretch, lying
twist stretch and head turns etc.).
Use these quick tips as a guide to preventing and easing backache.
1. At the first sign of backache, consult a specialist
2. Never lift an object from the floor with straight legs. Dip down, maintain
a straight back and lift with bent knees.
3. If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, make sure you
take a break every 60 minutes - take a walk, stand and stretch etc.
4. Sleep on a firm mattress. Don't use too many pillows - your neck should
stay in line with your spine.
5. Exercise regularly and ask the advice of a qualified fitness instructor
or personal trainer.