8 out of 10 people suffer from some form of bad backs

As a rough estimate, 8 out of 10 people suffer from some form of bad backs or ongoing back pain at some point during their lives. Women more so, are prone to posture and back problems—thanks to toting around stupidly heavy handbags, general pregnancy and birthing or carrying your children around on one side, which leaves you unbalanced.

Whether you’re in the middle of fighting the back ache or just want to prevent it, here are a couple of expert-endorsed simple and effective ways to wage your war.

If your handbag or briefcase tips the scales at more than 10% of your total body weight, it’s too heavy and needs to be fixed immediately (plus, you need to learn how to carry it the right way also).

Purchasing yourself a new handbag (that’s right, we are giving you direct advice to go shopping!) with a long strap that lets you position it across your chest like a messenger bag will greatly even out the weight load.

Sleeping in the best position can also help you.

A firmer bed may not be better for your back, contrary to popular belief. A recent study found that people who slept on softer beds reported less lower-back pain than those who snoozed on harder ones. You could also try an adjustable bed to help in this area.

Lastly, by tightening your abdominal muscles, you can strengthen your core to help combat and offset the back pressure.

Having strong core muscles can help protect your back from injury. By using specialised exercise equipment to strengthen this area, you will feel more in control.

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About Bad Backs

Bad backs are very common and affects most people at some point in their life. It usually feels like a constant ache, tension or stiffness in your lower back area and can be caused by a number of things, such as a sudden movement or fall, an injury or other medical condition. It’s generally caused by the way the bones, discs, tendons, muscles and ligaments interact and work together or in this case, don’t.

Lower back pain is very common in Australia. Around 80% of people experience back pain and 10% have some form of disability due to it, resulting in the need for a specialised inversion table to assist them in strengthening the area to try and keep the pain at bay.

People of all ages, genders and stages in life can be and are affected by back pain, and although it generally clears up in a few days or weeks, sometimes back pain can be ongoing and so severe that the person ends up living in a posture brace just to be able to get through their daily activities.

It’s important that you try not to restrict your movement too much. Even if your back is very painful, it is said by many professionals that slow and gentle movements are better than lying still in bed. It will keep your back moving and will help to get your back becoming more supple and flexible.

If you have back pain lasting longer than six weeks, you should most definitely see your doctor who can provide additional advice and treatment if necessary.

Kneeling chairs – back from the past….

Thank gosh for kneeling chairs being back on the market to help with everyone’s bad backs.

These are one of the easiest ways I have seen to prevent back pain and associated issues so I am glad to see they are becoming another fashionable item again.

It is crazy how much is out there and how many items people will claim ‘saved them’ from their own bad back future. From the office desks that claim to do all the hard work for you, to the various amounts of braces there are to sift through to find your fave colour to wear for every occasion, as if it is a belt or something that can be seen!

We, as a country, need to start looking after ourselves much more than we are already doing. We are being lazy, sitting in front of televisions for long periods, lacking in exercise (me included) and not keeping an active lifestyle in any sense of the word. This really needs to stop right here, right now.

We need to look after ourselves. Backs are the most important part of our bodies as they enable us to do so many different things. From bringing the shopping in from the car to getting ready on your own for a girls night out or blow drying your hair for that special occasion, your back plays a pivotal role in all of it! Imagine not being able to do any of these things (ok, I get that bringing shopping in form the car can be boring, but let’s assume its new clothes you just bought).

So, start with the chair. It will help get the momentum going.

 

Help your own bad backs stay away!

Many people will tell you that the key to steering clear of bad backs is to purchase yourself one of the high end posture brace items that so many companies are now offering up at bargain basement prices. I am here to tell that they could not be further from the truth.

Those items are handy for people who are already suffering and to help them on the way to back pain freedom, but they should not be used to prevent bad backs, you should be working on your bad posture first! You cannot always palm off the difficult things in life that are too hard for you and there are certainly no quick fixes in life. Take your health and well being into your own hands and do something about it.

I have just purchased myself a kneeling chair to ensure that any time I spend in front of my home computer (and I spend a lot of time at it, so it worked out beneficial for me to spend the money on it), I would not be compromising my own wellbeing and health.

You need to do the hard work for yourself, not because somebody tells you to but because you should care about whether you end up with a hunchback later on in life or whether, when your children have their own children, you can actually enjoy them and playing with them (which inevitably, ends up running around after them!).

Let’s get serious about bad backs and start showing our bodies we care!

Products Designed to “Correct” Posture

I always admire any individual that is self-motivated to learn enough about how to correct their bad backs and poor posture habits and improve their overall health. It shows smartness and that they care about themselves and want the best for their body to improve their quality of life and longevity; however, with so much information available on the subject, many people get confused as to where they should even start.

The keeling chairs that claim to be ‘all you need’ to the adjustable beds which are actually fantastic for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the products promoting the ability to improve posture:

  • Tape for taping your back up – there are a few brands of tape that come in an “X” pattern, designed to place between your shoulder blades. The tape is designed to wear for quite some time and it aids in pulling your shoulder blades backwards.
  • Undershirts – designed to wear under your clothing and help you achieve and maintain good posture.
  • Neoprene Upper and Lower Back Supports – these are neoprene braces designed to help remind you to have proper posture when bending and lifting. They also help remind you to pull your shoulders back and keep your lower back aligned.
  • Posture Shoes – designed to alter the way you stand and improve the alignment of your feet, knees, and hips, which helps improve posture.
  • Biofeedback Items – electrical devices you wear on your chest that vibrate when you slouch; these give you feedback by reminding you that you need to sit up straight.

The Most Effective Ways on How to Correct Posture with a posture brace

As I have mentioned, time and time again, some of the products available for bad backs are helpful reminders that you need to constantly maintain good posture in order to steer clear of needing back support like a posture brace. Where I fault these products, however, is that most of them attempt to hold you in a good posture but fail to help strengthen your own muscles to do the work.

This is a huge problem because if you have an item or product working for your muscles by holding you in the proper position, your own muscles will in essence take a holiday and completely check out of all work (why wouldn’t they if something else is doing it all for them!?). This lack of use with continued use of the device will actually lead to a muscle weakening over time. It’s the old adage…use it or lose it. In order to correct bad posture the right way, remember the following:

  • Work on continuing to have better posture during all your activities, while you’re sitting at an office desk, standing, and moving about in the daily grind.
  • Learn how to strengthen your muscles with exercises that will enable them to do the work…this will set you up for success in the longer term.
  • Learn a series of basic core strengthening exercises to help in your mid area. This will help promote better mechanics and will protect your back as you perform your daily activities.
  • Learn what good posture is and practice it continuously!

Now I realize none of these things are as appealing as buying a brace to correct posture. But remember, there are no shortcuts in life!

Bad Backs – Things to try

Bad backs can be caused by many minute pinched muscles in your lower back. In order to get rid of the ongoing pain once and for all, they should be released often and relaxed. Also relaxing them prevents further damage from being done to the discs by the constant pressure on them. This being the main reason and cause of the slipped, bulging and ruptured discs, nothing else can put that much pressure on them to cause that to happen.

Being in a sedentary job and sitting down at your computer all day on an office chair, actually does more damage than one would think. We are all so quick to blame our computer desk height etc etc but that is not it at all.

Here is a technique that can teach you how you can learn to relax/release those muscles to free them up a bit more to relieve pain.

Place your left hand on your left leg next to your body. Place your right hand over your left shoulder, fingers over the back and the palm in the front and firmly press on them and hold. After 30 seconds slowly lower your body forward and to the outside of your left leg, keeping your left arm fairly straight as you do. When you reach your lap remain there for another 10 seconds, release the pressure but rest there for another 30 seconds. Then reverse your hand positions and do your right side.

I started doing this two months ago now and I feel it is starting to help somewhat. I definitely do not feel as stiff in my back, or sore for that matter, so I can only assume it is working as I have changed nothing else in the past couple of months!

Try it!