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Mind Your Back

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MIND YOUR BACK!

 

As physiotherapists, a huge percentage of the clients we see complain of either back or neck pain. In fact, up to 90% of the population suffer from back pain at some stage in their lives.

The most common cause of these aches and pains is usually found by examining what we do everyday, and especially what we do for those eight hours every day at work - how we sit, stand, move and lift things.

 

As you sit at your desk, table, or couch, reading this… ask yourself…

 

  • Are you hunched over your desk all day?
  • Do you slump in front of the telly in the evening?
  • Are your shoulders tense, or rounded?

If so, try correcting yourself with the following checklist… stick these points on the front of your computer…

 

  • Get a good chair
  • Organise your work station so you can reach everything easily
  • Your computer screen should be at eye level
  • Your legs should comfortably fit under the desk
  • Your feet should be on the floor, or on a foot support
  • Pull your chin in
  • Avoid slouching, sit as tall as you can
  • A small cushion at the small of your back may help
  • Open out your shoulders and chest
  • Pull in your lower abdominal muscles (below the belly button)

 

Good posture helps in a number of ways - it helps you achieve proper alignment of your joints, avoids stressing them and ensures that the right muscles are working to support those joints. Good posture – and proper training of the deep abdominals and back muscles – helps to build up vital “core stability”.

 

Exercise can help strengthen and protect your back. Exercise tones your body, burns fat, lowers blood pressure, boosts energy levels and makes you feel good. There are many exercises – like swimming – that can strengthen your back muscles and help protect you from injuries.

 

A physiotherapist, or qualified fitness instructor, should be able to help you build up your core stability in the gym. But remember - you should include some stretch-based exercises in your daily routine, like yoga, or pilates.

 

Recommended by physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors, pilates teaches you to gain control of your body, protect against back injuries, handle stress better and relax more easily. Pilates targets the key postural muscles, building strength from within, by stabilising the torso and building strong, flexible muscles.