back pain

Is your wardrobe the answer to your back pain?

from Article by …

Taryn Davies | Femail First | 

Back pain is the blight of many Brits, but have you ever considered that your wardrobe could be elevating your discomfort? The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) is urging people to consider their clothes and how they could impact on their posture. According to new research from the BCA, 39% of adults (aged 25-34) admit to regularly wearing restrictive clothing, with this figure shooting up to 74% for 18-24 year olds.

Nearly a fifth of all adults questioned also said they carry a large handbag or shopper regularly. Half of people who carry a bag with one strap admitted to not ever alternating the shoulder they carry it on, which can contribute to neck or back pain.

With 77% of adults saying they either currently suffer from back or neck pain or have done in the past BCA chiropractor, Tim Hutchful, explains why our wardrobes could be playing a part in our pain: “Restrictive clothing like pencil skirts and skinny jeans can stop the body  from moving freely so when you perform certain movements in tight clothes regularly, this can lead to injury. Heavy handbags constantly worn on one shoulder can damage posture, for example by causing someone to develop a ‘drop-shoulder’ where one shoulder is lower than the other.

“When choosing an outfit each day, variety is key – wearing the same type of outfit every day could be restricting the same part of your body, putting unnecessary strain on it – it’s important to share the load.”

BCA chiropractor, Tim Hutchful, gives the following top tips for clothing:

  • Keep your outfit styles varied: Try and avoid wearing the same outfit combination every day as this could restrict movement in certain areas of your body which could cause you injury.
  • Prevention better than cure: If you think your clothing or the bag you carry might be causing you back pain, try changing them for a period of time as this may help your posture.
  • Get the straps right: If you have a rucksack, use both straps and adjust them so your bag is held close to your back which should reduce strain.  If your bag has one strap, alternate the shoulder you carry it on.
  • Put your best foot forward: Good footwear is important for your back health and soft-soled shoes that are supportive are the key. If you regularly wear high heels it is important to wear trainers or shoes with smaller heels from time to time.

How this spring / summer fashion must-haves can impact on your posture:

  • The pleated skirt or culottes: A pleated skirt will allow your legs to move freely without being restricted so there is no unnecessary strain on the legs which can contribute to good back health.
  • The bucket rucksack hybrid: This style of bag is designed to carry lots of items in it but be careful not to fall into the trap of overfilling it as it will become heavy putting a large amount of strain on the back.
  • Trainers and brogues: These sensible shoe choices are popular this season and may also help your posture.

The BCA recommends that you seek professional advice if you are experiencing pain for more than a few days as an undiagnosed problem could lead to longer-term damage if left untreated.

 

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10 Tips from across the Net

The primary way to deal with back pain should be prevention, Here are 10 tips to help you do just that.

10 tips to prevent back pain image

1. Lift Safely

Safe lifting involves using your legs to spare your back. Bend your knees, tighten your abdominal muscles, and keep the object being lifted close to your body. For more tips, see Safe Lifting Techniques, which provides an illustrated step-by-step guide.

It is also a good idea to be aware of unsafe lifting techniques, so that you can avoid them. Unsafe lifting techniques usually involve positions that will cause you strain when you add a load to them.

2. Minimize and Avoid Twisting Motions

The use of twisting motions should be carefully monitored, and scaled back or eliminated as appropriate. When lifting heavy objects, twisting should be avoided. When doing heavy work, such as housework, try to keep twisting to a minimum. In other activites, pay close attention to how you are moving your spine, as well as any warning signs such as pain or tightness, that may indicate trouble. Scale back on the twisting according to the warning signs your body gives you.

3. Drink Plenty of Water

Our bodies are comprised of approximately 70% water. Enough water keeps us fluid, rather than stiff. Drinking plenty of water enhances the height of intervertebral disks, keeping them the healthy shock absorbers they are. Water is necessary for nearly every bodily process so is good to have in generous supply, at least 6-8 8-ounce glasses per day. It is almost impossible to drink too much water. For the facts on dehydration, read Dehydration: What a Pain!

4. Live an Active Life and Strengthen Your Abs

Exercise and activity keep the muscles of the spine strong. The most important muscles to strengthen to avoid back pain are the abdominals. Include stretching in your fitness program to avoid stiffness, which causes pain. Another reason to stay flexible is that stiff muscles are a precursor to injury.

5. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is generally an excellent way to prevent all kinds of diseases and discomforts. For the spine, it avoids compression and loading of the intervertebral disks, prevents postural abnormalities, such as anterior pelvic tilt, and interrupts a sedentary lifestyle, with its accompanying stiff and/or weak muscles.

6. Find the Best Sleeping Positions

Finding a sleeping position that works for you can help you avoid placing unnecessary strains on your back or neck. Doctors tend to vary when recommending ideal sleep positions, so being guided by your comfort levels and using your own judgement are good accompaniment to his or her advice. About’s Sleep Disorders editor, Florence Cardinal, has some great tips for sleep positioning.

7. Warm Up

For those who exercise, and that should be everyone, warm ups are a must. Warm up means 5-10 minutes of light aerobic activity just prior to the exercise session. The purpose of a warm up is to acclimate the muscles to a more intense activity level gradually enough to prevent injury, and therefore, pain. Recommendations by experts vary as to whether the warm up period should include stretching.

8. Cool Down

The cool down period after an excercise period must include stretching. During cool down, your muscles are still warm from exercising, and are very receptive to stretching. Stretching will be less painful during cool down, as well. Stretching relieves muscle tightness, which is one cause of back pain. Stretching also helps to balance the action of muscles, enhancing ideal alignment, and relieving joint strain.

9. Purposely Interupt Long Periods of Sitting

If you sit for long periods of time, force yourself to get up from your chair as much as your work environment will permit. Sitting loads the spine and compresses the disks, leading to disk problems. Slaving over a computer for long periods of time can also cause posture problems, such as kyphosis, and neck problems.

10. Try a Holistic Approach

Holistic bodywork techniques and systems such as massage therapy, yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Chiropractic, or acupuncture are a great way to keep the structures of your spine tuned up for a lifetime.

 

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