The Restless Gemini

Έν οίδα ότι ουδέν οίδα --- Hen oida hoti ouden oida

October 29, 2005

It's your Back

Do you like a cushy lifestyle -- a job where you sit in a nice air-conditioned office and go home to slumber sweetly on a soft foam mattress?
And exercise... er, what's that?

This pretty much mirrors the sedentary life many corporate employees lead today. And it's causing them a pain in the rear, literally.
Backaches have become as common as a cold or a headache, and are responsible for 24 percent the absenteeism cases at work.

Why do I have a backache?
i. The common causes for backaches include disorders like spondylosis (a chronic degenerative disease of the intervertebral discs), disc prolapse and congenital abnormalities.
ii. There are, however, at least 20 varieties of diseases which can manifest as backaches.
iii. Apart from these, other factors like injury, trauma, overwork, emotional and mental stress, menstrual tension and prostate conditions can lead to backaches.
iv. Problems with posture or weight can also cause backaches.

Chin up, back straight
Whatever the cause, there are measures you can take to ease the pain. There are some general precautions, which those suffering from backache must follow.
i. The best way to prevent common back problems is to stay fit and active.
Staying active will also help control your weight, which is one of the primary causes of back pain.
ii. The easiest way to ease your back pain is by applying heat locally by means of a hot water bottle. Warmth always helps.
iii. While lifting heavy objects, keep your back straight. Poor lifting techniques are a major cause of back strain and injury.

Injuries are less likely if you are fit and have strong back, stomach and leg muscles. Here is the correct lifting technique:
· Make a firm base with your feet, keeping them about shoulder width apart.
· Lift with your legs, bending your knees instead of your back.
· Do not kneel or bend your knees too much.
· Keep your chin held in and raised, as this helps keep your back straight.
· Ensure the load is as close to your body as possible.
· Keep your arms and elbows tucked close to your body.
· Do not twist your back; change direction by moving your feet.
iv. Avoid wearing high heels.
v. Refrain from sleeping in your chair.
vi. Use a cushion to support the small of your back when seated.
vii. To rest and sleep, lie on a firm, flat surface, if possible.
viii. Swimming in a pool also helps.
ix. Relaxing at regular intervals helps.
x. It is important to manage your weight; check your weight regularly and lose the excess kilos.

Nothing is as incapacitating as a severe backache, yet most people take their backs for granted -- until it starts playing up, that is. So begin taking care of your back today.


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