Bad habits like slouching on the couch put a strain on your back muscles. The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Singapore General Hospital shares tips to avoid straining your back.
Avoid bad back habits
Up to 80 per cent of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. More men than women suffer from this condition.
Low back pain, which is felt around your lower or lumbar spine, is common because it’s connected to your pelvis where most of your weight bearing and body movement take place. You can strain your lower back through twisting (as in games such as golf), lifting a heavy object, continual bad posture or even sitting in a poorly designed chair. Suddenly or over time, tissues get torn, leading to pain, swelling and stiffness.
Massage can help soothe lower back pain but it does not cure it – you should still get a doctor to look at your back and also advise you on what steps to take to limit the injury. Pay attention to your body. Any time there’s pain or discomfort in the back, it needs to be looked at by a doctor. If the condition is left untreated, it can get worse and the pain can run elsewhere, for instance along a nerve, causing extreme discomfort, tingling, numbness or tightness where the nerve travels.
Tips for a healthy back
- Adopt good posture, whether sitting or standing
- Keep your back straight but not stiff, hands resting comfortably at your desk or by your side.
- Use proper seats and bed
- You can upset the alignment of your spine if a chair does not give your back proper support, or if your mattress is too soft.
- Lose weight
- Excess weight puts pressure on your spine.
- Lift objects correctly
- Always bend your knees when you lift a heavy object.
- Do some form of regular exercise.
- Avoid smoking
- Smoking delays recovery from back pain and back surgery.
How does slipped disc occur?
This is caused when one of the spinal discs moves beyond its normal range. In simple cases, rest is all that’s required but in serious cases surgery may be required. One popular method is keyhole surgery – a tiny incision is made through which computer-guided instruments repair the damage.