19 May 9 Tips for a Healthy Back
1. General Exercise
Choose a warm‐up that increases heart rate, elevating your body temperature – do this over just simple stretching.
Walk briskly, swinging arms in a pain‐free manner, starting slow and building up to a higher intensity exercise.
Walking is a great exercise, aiming to maintain a healthy lifestyle and evidence shows that it may help back pain. Maintain an upright posture to avoid slumping or leaning forward whilst walking. Use a pedometer as this will allow you to track progress, stay motivated and create goals.
Swimming is great but try to avoid breaststroke due to arching of the back. Cycling is good, but make sure your bike is set up properly.
3. Keep Active
Exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week.
Take rest breaks every hour – recline in your chair for a moment or walk around for a few minutes. Change your position – if seated, stand up; if standing, walk around. Perform a different task every hour or so, and use different muscles
4. Mobile Devices
Sit up straight when texting or reading. Keep the device at chest or eye level to reduce neck and back stress. Use a hands‐free device instead of holding the device to your ear.
Customise your workstation to your body and tasks. Change positions frequently. Move efficiently and control stress.
6. Sitting Posture / Workstation
Position the monitor and document holder even or slightly below line of sight.
Keep monitor at arm’s length.
Adjust the lumbar support and arm rests on the chair to be upright and at 90°.
Look straight without neck pain.
Sit up to keep spine upright.
Keep knees and hips level.
Feet should be touching the floor, otherwise use a foot rest – the hips and knees should be at 90°.
As an occupation, this is known to be one of the most common reasons for lower back pain. Adjust the seat height and distance so knees are slightly bent and back supported by the seat back. In most cars, the knees will be higher than the hips and this may cause undue strain on the lower back.
Recline the seat slightly to decrease back strain – this is related to making the seat back and seat angle closer to 90 °.
Use a lumbar support or rolled towel in the small of the lower back to help, especially if the car seat doesn’t have lumbar support. Take frequent rests if on a long drive.
Estimate the weight to be lifted and ensure a clear path to move the object.
Keep a wide stance and bend from the legs, not from the waist.
Keep the load as close as possible to the body and avoid bending from the back. Do not twist. Rather, pivot from the hips and feet for less back stress
When mopping, vacuuming and sweeping – stand as upright as possible, keeping elbows close to the body and move with your mop/broom/vacuum like a dancing partner, avoiding any torso twisting.
Bathroom – use a small stool to sit or kneel whilst cleaning lower items.
Standing at sink/counter – Use a wide stance and lean your stomach on the bench-top to lower the body while avoid leaning forwards. Wear cushioning shoes and be mindful of your posture. Be sure to ask your practitioner for more information.