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Mobility is the Key: Relieve Your Hips, Prevent Back Pain

Sitting at a desk for hours on end can shorten the muscles around your hips and thighs and eventually lead to significant back pain. To prevent this, you should take five minutes every day to retrain those important muscle groups.

Over 90% of all adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is costly in terms of medical visits and missed work, but also because it can decrease your ability to perform and participate in activities you enjoy.It affects most people at least once in their lifetime.

If not taken seriously, back pain can last for a long period of time, and can become disabling. This reference summary will help you understand the anatomy of the back, the most common causes of back pain, and measures you can take to prevent back pain.

Anatomy

The back has two main parts: the spine and the back muscles. The back muscles are attached to the spine. The spine consists of bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are joined together by the facet joints. Softer disks separate the vertebrae. They allow the spine to bend and flex. They also act as cushions in between the vertebrae and absorb shock and vibration produced by walking and running. Nerves connecting the brain to the body make up the spinal cord.

The vertebrae protect the spinal cord. Nerves branch off from the spinal cord to various organs and muscles including those in the arms and legs. The nerves carry instructions from the brain to the muscles, organs, and limbs. They also carry sensations such as pain from different parts of the body to the brain. The spine is joined to the pelvis, or hip, by the sacroiliac joints. Unlike most joints, the sacroiliac joints are fixed and do not move.

Causes Of Back Pain

The most common cause of back pain is muscle spasm. An awkward movement of the back can lead to a severe muscle spasm. The muscle spasm causes the back to “lock” and can cause severe pain. A muscle spasm can occur after a simple sneeze or cough. It can also occur after an awkward bending or twisting motion. A movement as simple as bending to tie a shoe or twisting the back to turn and face in a different direction can cause such a spasm.

Muscle spasms can also occur when a heavy object is lifted incorrectly. Muscle spasms tend to get better over time. Severe cases of muscle spasm can be treated with physical therapy and medication. Long lasting back pain can occur after accidents that have resulted in injury to the disks, the facet joints, or sacroiliac joints of the back.

Disks And Their Problems

The disks in the back act as cushions between vertebrae. A disk contains a central area called the “nucleus pulposus,” which means soft center. The nucleus pulposus is surrounded by a tougher part of the disk called the “annulus fibrosis.” The annulus fibrosis holds the vertebrae together and prevents the content of the nucleus pulposus from pushing outward.

Disks are usually moist, like a sponge with water in it. As a person gets older, or after a disk gets injured, it starts losing water and becomes stiffer. The disk becomes less useful in cushioning the back. This is known as disk degeneration.

How to Prevent Back Pain

1.Warm up before any exercise or sport.

2.Take breaks from activities.

3.Use a lumbar cushion in your car and at work if you sit a lot. This cushion is approximately 15” high by 20” wide and curves to fit the back.

4.You can also roll a towel and tuck it behind the small of your back (below ribs).

5.Start each day with gentle stretching exercises.

6.A simple exercises program can prevent injuries. Your doctor or physical therapist can show you exercises that are good for you.

7.Go through your house, office, and other surroundings looking for dangers to your back. Watch for damaged flooring, furniture placement, traffic patterns, throw rugs, items set on the floor, toys, etc.

8.Take lessons to learn the proper way to play sports.

9.Know your limits and stay within them when it comes to lifting, reaching above your head, playing sports, and all activities involving back movements.

10.Make sure all stairs and steps are well-lit and solid—esp. those going to the basement. Provide hand rails for all steps.

11.Make sure all ladders are steady and set solidly before climbing them.

12.Always wear your seat belts. If you are petite, auto supply stores have clasps that will keep the shoulder strap from choking you.

13.Do not stand on concrete floors without a rubber mat.

14.Practicing Yoga, Tai Ji Quan, Traditional Chineese Martial Arts, is another excellent way to stay in shape and keep your back supple.