Eighty percent of us will experience back problems at some point in our lives. Back pain is ranked second only to headaches as the most frequent cause of pain, and tops the list of workplace injuries, causing more loss of time, disability and money than any other workplace injury. Our backs are a carefully engineered network of bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves that help balance and bear the weight of our bodies and the loads we carry. Any minor damage or imbalance to this delicate system can stress muscles and joints, causing pain and injury. A lifetime of poor posture, poor lifting, bending and reaching, and twisting activities can gradually weaken your back’s supportive structures as well as cause pain and injury.
Risk Factors for Back Pain
Being overweight. Your back has to support too much weight when you’re carrying extra pounds.
Poor muscle tone. If your muscles are not well toned, they can’t meet the challenge when you ask something extra of them.
Poor posture. Poor posture creates bodily stress, which can result in pain.
Improper lifting. Heavy lifting, carrying children, as well as occupational lifting can cause injury.
Desk /computer jobs. Our bodies don’t thrive sitting for long periods of time hunched over keyboards or other workspaces.
Unhappiness. Researchers have found that general dissatisfaction with our social and economic situations can double or triple the risk of low back pain.
With all these risk factors, it’s no wonder so many of us suffer from back pain. But it’s not a part of life you have to passively accept.
Frequently Asked Questions
Take a look at the following frequently asked questions—they’ll help you further understand this condition, and better care for yourself and your family.
Do I need surgery for my bad back?
No, not usually. More times than not, your back pain can be treated without going under the knife. However, some conditions, like a herniated disk, may benefit
from surgery. Even still, herniated disks may heal on their own. Bottom line—you should carefully consider your options, and then consider them again, before thinking about surgery.
What about alternative therapy?
Non-traditional therapy is becoming more widely accepted these days. It wasn’t long ago that chiropractic treatment was viewed as an “alternative” therapy. Now these specialists are a common part of the back care landscape. Other alternative therapies have received praise from sufferers, too. The choice is up to you.
Sit at a desk all day. Am I at risk for back pain and injury?
Yes. It’s a common misconception that physical laborers and construction workers are at a higher risk for back injuries. The fact is, those individuals in sedentary jobs are at risk for back injury, too. Exercise and regular movement are important factors in maintaining a healthy back.
How can I arrange my office environment to protect my back?
A chair with good back support and height adjusters that allow you to keep both feet flat on the floor can do wonders to keep your back in a healthy state. If you don’t have an adjustable chair, try to use a chair with a simple straight back whenever possible. Also, when it comes to your desk, arrange items (phone, keyboard, monitor, etc.) where you won’t have to twist and turn excessively to access them.
Will my back pain ever go away?
There’s good news and bad news. First the good news. With proper self-care and good prevention techniques you can be well on your way to fighting off back pain. Now the bad news. Considering that 80 percent of Indians experience back pain at some point in their lives—much of it recurring—you may never get rid of back pain altogether. That’s why it’s important to practice the prevention tips included in this section—and keep doing them even when you’re feeling better.
You may see an expert at ReLivaTM Physiotherapy & Rehab to ease your back pain and get a customised plan to keep your back happy.