Definitive proof human bodies are freaking weird.
Definitive proof human bodies are freaking weird.
I’ve been a sufferer of back pain for over 20 years. Specialists believe I developed steoarthritis 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/.
Australian children will give a collective groan about going back to school today, but now is the perfect time to check their school bags won’t cause pain or injury. “A heavy backpack increases the risk of poor posture and possible injury,” said Dr Patricia Thomas, Osteopathy Australia Board President and Sydney osteopath.
Back pain is common in Australian children, particularly during adolescence. According to Australian rheumatologists, some causes of back pain in young people include poor posture, inappropriate forms of exercise and carrying heavy schoolbags.
“Heavy backpacks are a real problem. Children will often compensate for the weight with a forward head posture which puts stress on the whole body, especially the lower back and neck,” she said.
A forward head positioning can cause pain, poor posture and potential permanent damage to growing spines. Backpack weight can be kept lower by carrying only the essential books for the day and using a locker at school. Students can also partner with a friend to share a textbook during class, reducing some of the load.
“Some textbooks have soft copies available, greatly reducing the need to carry the heavy textbook to and from school,” said Dr Thomas. “If your child uses a laptop or tablet at school, they might not need to carry textbooks at all.”
In addition to keeping the weight low, it is critical that children have a good quality backpack and wear it properly.
Top tips when purchasing and wearing a backpack:
- Make sure the backpack is the right size – it should be no wider than the child’s chest
- Comfort and fit should be first priority, not looks
- Choose a backpack that has wide shoulder straps with padding
- Always use both shoulder straps. Wearing a pack on one shoulder curves the spine unnaturally, putting stress on the whole body
- Don’t wear the backpack below the small of the back
- Use the waist straps to help evenly distribute the weight of the pack
Image via backpacksreviewed.com
According to the World Health Organisation the most common type of headache originates from tension, muscle stiffness or joint strain in the neck and upper thoracic region. Other causes include might include:
- Eye strain
- Sinus congestion
- Whiplash injury
- Poor posture
- Jaw imbalance and teeth grinding
- Allergies and food intolerances
Poor posture can cause a range problems including back pain, spinal problems, poor circulation, joint degeneration and rounded shoulders. Osteopaths and other health professionals are witnessing a huge surge in the cases of the “iPhone neck”. Our smart devices aren’t so smart when it comes to health, and all that hunching is causing dire effects on our posture.
Osteopathy Australia reminds that there are certain ways your osteopath can help to release the pain and advise you on how to avoid the headaches in the future.
Your osteopath can help to:
- improve your general mobility
- improve the mobility of your ribs and thoracic and cervical spine
- reduce muscular tension, nerve compression and inflammation
- advise on posture, exercise and stretching to help prevent a recurrence of symptoms
- offer guidance on diet and preventing dehydration
- advise on improving the ergonomics of your home or workplace
You should also seek professional advice if the headache is accompanied by fever, nausea or vomiting, bleeding or fluid draining from the nose or ears, dizziness, blurred vision or speech, numbness, tingling or paralysis.
If you experience headaches regularly, keeping a headache diary can help identify these triggers and ultimately help them avoid them. A headache diary allows you to record important details about your headaches, such as symptoms, frequency and other. Your Osteopath will help you identify triggers such as certain foods, sleep habits, exercise and posture.
Image via apchiropractic.com