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One of the most common health problems is back pain. It seems that the twenty-four vertebrae that make up our spinal column are the bones that cause the most problems. Some think that this problem is due to the fact that humans stand on their two feet. But considering that we have been standing up for more than a million years, this theory does not hold much water.

It is said that our forefathers used to suffer so much from this problem that they accepted it as a fact of life and few grumbled about it. The truth is that this problem is on the increase and we are not sure why. What we are sure of is what causes the pain, and hence we know how to tackle the problem.

Back Massage The most common cause for back pain is excessive physical exertion, often from lifting heavy items or sudden abnormal movements or worst, both together. This causes a great strain on the back with dire consequences. When this happens we feel a sudden pain in the back. But in most instances the pain is not strong enough to stop our work and usually goes away after a few days. Furthermore, the worst thing we could do in such situations is to lie still and rest. It is much better to keep moving and do some light exercises.

However, if the pain persists, you may have incurred a serious injury, such as a slip disc, and professional help is necessary. This disc, which is shaped like a small doughnut, serves as a shock absorber and is positioned between the vertebrae. Its function is to cushion the spinal column’s movements and prevents the vertebrae from knocking against each other.

Many of our body’s nerves pass through a hole in each vertebrae and disc. So, when a disc moves, looses its position or worst collapses, it will create pressure on the nerves, with the result of pain in the back and/or other parts of the body such as the arms or legs. Repairing such damage is a very long and difficult process.

Our Posture

A good posture is necessary for many reasons, but it is most advantageous for our back. To prevent any problems to our back it is necessary to know how to sit, stand, walk and do other movements properly.

If you spend a good part of the day sitting, make sure you have a good chair. The chair’s back should give good support to the small of the back. This is important, as this is where most of our back’s problems start. The part we sit on should be large enough to support the upper part of our legs. However, ensure that the chair’s edge is not pressing on the mid thigh, but support is throughout the upper leg up to behind the knee. The chairs height should be such that our feet rest squarely on the floor.

The Back Take care when lifting something from the floor. The best way is to squat, grab the object and stand up again, always keeping your back straight. This way, your legs, and not your back, are carrying the weight of the object. When you carry heavy stuff use both hands, keeping the object in front of you and close to your stomach. If you have doubts about its weight leave it and call for help.

When working on a workbench or the kitchen tops, do not bend over, but keep your back straight. If you regularly use such worktops, it is important that the work surface is at the correct height for you. A good height test is that the surface should ideally be between two to eight inches (5cm to 20cm) below the elbow.

As we spend some 30% of our lives sleeping, our bed must also be assessed. A hard or semi-hard mattress is recommended. A bed that sags in the middle should be avoided, as this prevents you from keeping your back straight.

Finally, but the most important point for good posture is our body weight. Excess weight is taxing on our backs, as is carrying heavy objects. In fact overweight persons often suffer from back pain. Hence, it is imperative that we maintain our weight according to our body mass and height.

"I want to get old gracefully. I want to have good posture, I want to be healthy and be an example to my children." - STING

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