I’ve been a sufferer of back pain for over 20 years. Specialists believe I developed osteoarthritis of the spine caused by a fall I had at the age of nine. At the time I didn’t get the right treatment and it progressively worsened over time.
By the time I was 20, the pain was servere and I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t in pain. Since then, it’s affected my mental and physical health. My ability to work, concentrate and experience some simple things in life were completely diminished.
I know that I’m not alone when it comes to experiencing back pain. It’s estimated that 70-90 per cent of the Australian population will experience musculoskeletal pain at some point in their lives. The cause is largely attributed to people spending copious amounts of time in a sitting position at work and at home in front of a screen.
While most experience “simple” back pain others will be effected by neural pain (sciatica), structural pain (scoliosis) and chronic back pain, much like what I have. Physiotherapist Matthew Squires highly recommends anyone experiencing back pain to have it assessed prior to therapy. Ideally within the first two weeks of experiencing pain. In hindsight, I wish I’d knew about this fact.
Apparently a rapid response will enable the brain to help heal the body and will prevent a more serious condition developing long-term. Trust me, if you have been experiencing pain go to a GP as soon as possible! They’ll get an examination done to see exactly what’s going on and make a referral to a physio to help relieve the pain.
In the meantime there are back pain preventatives for people who find themselves sitting for long periods of time. Office workers and people with sedentary employment are especially at risk. There’s been recent studies which state prolonged sitting can actually decrease your lifespan, so the aim is to get up and move.
Squires’ tips to reduce and prevent back pain:
- Keep a glass of water on your desk instead of a large bottle. This is to encourage you to get up to refill it regularly. Plus, as you keep drinking the water, you will also need to get up to void it.
- Every hour of sitting should be compensated with 5 minutes of exercise. Don’t save it up and do it all in one hit. Break it up as you go. Get up and go for a walk and do some stretching.
- Additionally do some spinal twists, hip flexor stretches and rotate your neck and shoulders whilst sitting.
- Speak to employers about investing in ergonomic equipment to use in the office. This will also assist productivity so it should be a available to all office and sedentary staff.
- Lastly, schedule walking meetings. They are now considered far more productive than traditional round table type meetings and will get you the added exercise you need.
If you’d like some more information on Matthew Squires recommendations or his Physio Gym specializing in women’s health, please check out http://physiogym.net.au/.