Back pain can be one of the most debilitating and frustrating ailments. When acute, back pain can stop us from walking, exercising – and even enjoying life.
If you work in an office, you may have noticed some people choose to work while standing at height-adjustable desks. While this is shown to be a good thing in general, talk to the people standing, and often they will tell you that due to back pain, sitting for prolonged periods is just too painful for them.
Fortunately, recent research has revealed two things that you can do to help ensure your back remains pain free. (Or if you’re already suffering back pain, the tips will prevent you from causing further damage and pain to your back.)
1. There’s a perfect angle for leaning back
Were you aware that leaning back on a chair can be a cause of back strain? It’s true. Helpfully, however, a study in 1999determined that sitting at an angle of 110-130 degrees was optimal for spine comfort. A further study in 2007,showed that leaning back at 135 degrees was the ideal angle for preventing back strain.
You may be asking yourself: “What angle am I currently sitting at?” It’s a fair question, as it’s probably not something you’ve considered before.
While you could manually check the angle you’re sitting at, an innovative consumer device developed by Lumo Bodytech can make this process easy and automatic. The company offers a product called Lumo Lift that uses angle displacement to track and alert you to times when you are slouching or have poor body posture. The company claims that by improving your posture, you’ll reduce back pain, lower your stress levels – and become more productive. Positive benefits that we’d all welcome in our lives.
2. Doing sit-ups badly is a surefire route to back pain
While we all want to be as fit as possible, some basic exercises (when done wrongly) can be detrimental to our spine. A common cause of back problems is sit-ups.The issue is not with the exercise itself, but by the mistakes most people do when performing sit-ups. Frequently, people use their hands behind their head as leverage. As we’ll see, this can be a recipe for disaster.
By using the hands as leverage while performing sit-ups, unnecessary strain is placed on the sensitive vertebrae in the neck and all the way down the spine. Furthermore, by performing sit-ups in this way, the abdominal muscles aren’t exercised as thoroughly as they should be. In other words, you think you’re building up your fitness, when, in reality, you may be contributing to its demise.
Here’s how to perform sit-ups correctly:
- Lie on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
- Put your finger tips behind your ears (but don’t use your hands as leverage).
- Put your elbows to your side, with shoulder blades back.
- Using your abdominal muscles, raise your body towards your knees (head should always be looking straight).
- Gently roll back down, and commence the exercise.
As you may know, back pain is notoriously difficult to eliminate. It has a tendency to flare up at unexpected times, causing misery to sufferers. As a consequence, many people spend thousands of dollars on expensive pharmaceutical pain treatment, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation and specialized massages. While these treatments can certainly help, avoiding back injury in the first place is ideal.
By following the two tips above, you can help to reduce your risk of back injuries. This could free you from unnecessary pain, discomfort and immobility. By looking after your spine, your body can be flexible, healthy and pain free.