Living with Lower Back Pain: Part III: Prevention of Lower Back Pain
This is the 3rd in a series of 3 articles related to lower back pain.
It is widely accepted in the medical community that the best treatment for lower back pain (LBP) is prevention. Keeping fit, (flexible and strong), practicing posture, and using good body mechanics are essential in the prevention of LBP. At our office, great time and effort is spent emphasizing the importance of these concepts.
Kane Trucking is a perfect example of the merit and value of LBP safety and prevention. For the past 6 years, I have served as a rehab consultant for Kane Trucking. During this time, Kane has noticed a significant reduction in LBP injuries through an onsite safety program which promotes education, wellness, body mechanics, lifting techniques, postural and stretching exercises and ergonmics.
As little as 10 extra pounds puts great stress on your lower back. It also makes it more difficult to maintain good posture. Eat well, exercise regularly and don’t smoke. Smokers have a much higher incidence of LBP and failure from lower back surgery.
Good posture is critical for a healthy back. When sitting, standing or walking maintain a slight arch in your lower back, keep shoulders back, and head over your shoulders. In sitting, use a towel roll or small pillow in the small of the back.
Perform postural exercises throughout the day. Most of the day you are sitting, standing and reaching forwards flexing your spine. These exercises are designed to stretch your back in the opposite direction of flexion. Please perform slowly, hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 6 times each 6 times per day.
Good Body Mechanics and ergonomics are also important in the prevention of LBP. When lifting, think twice. Think about the weight, shape and size of the object. Think about where the object is going and the traction of floor. Does it require two people to lift? Can I safely lift that high or bend that low?
Lifting: When bending to lift an object think about safety:
Sitting: When sitting, use an ergonomic chair and work station with a lumbar support and adjustable heights. Get close to your keyboard and monitor. Stand up and perform postural exercises every 45-60 minutes.
Walking: If you walk or stand most of the day, wear good shoes. Avoid high heels and shoes without adequate support like sandals.
Driving: If you drive long distances, use a lumbar support to keep an arch, sit close to your steering wheel to prevent bending forward and stop to stretch using the above postural exercises every 45-60 minutes.
Aerobic exercise will help prevent weight gain and stiffness for a healthier lower back. Perform mild aerobic exercise such as walking 3-5 times per week for 30-45 minutes.
Core stabilization exercises designed to strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles will help prevent injury. Some examples of core exercises are: (Perform slowly, hold the pelvic tilt 5 seconds, repeat 10 times)
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: email@example.com
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Scranton, PT Dept.