Back pain

Don’t look back

This month marks National BackCare Awareness Week which puts the spotlight on preventing back pain. With 80 percent of the population suffering from back pain at some point in their lives, Rebecca Nelson, Spinal and Headache Physiotherapy Specialist and Clinic Owner at Apex Clinic offers advice on preventing or reducing back related problems.

Take care of your back first thing in the morning

Looking after your back first thing is vital as during the first two hours after getting up, it is most vulnerable to injury. This is due to increased fluid and pressure within the discs. To reduce the risk of injury, minimise any bending and avoid heavy lifting first thing. When reaching to pick up your bag, keep your back arched,
stick your bottom out and bend your knees. Also, when dressing, bring your feet up to you when putting on socks and shoes to avoid injury.

Sitting pretty

In the UK, on average we spend an astounding 9 to 14 hours a day sitting down so getting our posture correct is essential. I’m sure you’ve often heard the phrase: “Sit up straight”. However, it is a common misconception that sitting upright with a straight back is the best posture for our backs. The ideal position is actually to sit slightly reclined at an angle of 35 to 40 degrees backwards from the vertical position. This optimum position ensures the lower back discs are less loaded from compressive forces.

For many, working in an office requires uninterrupted hours spent sitting at a desk. As well as reclining your chair, ensure the middle of your monitor is at eye-level. Keep elbows close to your body rather than outstretched and thighs, forearms and hands should be roughly parallel with the floor. Finally, pull your chair under your desk, resting forearms on the edge of the desk for optimal positioning.

Coughs and sneezes

Lower back disc injuries are commonly caused by coughing or sneezing. The force at which we cough or sneeze causes us to automatically bend forward, which can damage our discs in the process. Instead, try to arch your lower back backwards, extending your belly button forward as much as possible, to reduce the pressure on your lower back discs.

A second opinion may clear your pain

Here at Apex Clinic, we treat so many people who have been advised that their lower back pain or sciatica is due to “arthritis” or “wear and tear”. After examination, we often find that the person has a treatable lower back problem which clears or significantly reduces with our specialised manual physiotherapy treatment.

Arthritis or ‘wear and tear’ of the spine is a natural part of the normal ageing process. Arthritis in the spine isn’t commonly associated with moderate or severe pain. In fact, when an x-ray reveals arthritis in the lower back many patients have no accompanying pain at all.

If you have persistent lower back pain or sciatica don’t give up on finding a cure. A second opinion from us may be all that is needed to clear your pain. To book a consultation with us at Apex Clinic call: 028 9048 4153. No GP referral is necessary.