Health Tip: Understanding Low Back Pain
Low back pain -- ranging from mild discomfort to debilitating agony -- plagues nearly everyone at some point. But even mild low back pain can interfere with your life and your work.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons lists these common causes of low back pain:
- Lifting an object using the back, not the legs.
- Degenerative changes in the spine as people age.
- Straining the back during activity.
- An injury (tear or herniation) to a disc in the spine.
- Spondylolisthesis, a condition in which the vertebrae slip out of place and put pressure on nerves in the spine.
- Spinal stenosis, which occurs when the space around the spine narrows, resulting in pressure on nearby nerves and the spinal cord.
- Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine.
Health Tip: The Importance of Good Posture
Posture is important in everything you do. Bad posture can lead to back pain, and even make you feel more tired than usual.
The American Physical Therapy Association offers these guidelines to help you maintain good posture:
- When standing, your body should be vertically aligned, with a straight spine and head, and a straight line from your ankles to your knees, hips, shoulders and ears.
- Keep your shoulders and hips level, and knees facing straight ahead when you walk or stand.
- There should be a slight inward curve to your lower back when standing.
- Stand with your abdomen flat.
- When you sit, use the back of the chair for support, and keep your feet on the floor.
- Sit up straight, with your head up. Don't lean forward.