I Got Your Back!!!
Updated: Sep 19, 2020
I discovered majority of patients I encounter in my profession as a physical therapist either have chronic or acute back pain. Once your back goes out…that’s it, we become ultimately handicap. We are usually unaware how much we use and need our back to perform everyday activities. Nonetheless, don’t you worry; just remember I got your back! The key essential to preventing back injuries is maintaining good body mechanics. Demonstrating good body mechanics is a back saver. I try to live a healthy and active lifestyle so whenever I am at work or just exercising I am always thinking about my body mechanics to prevent any unwanted injuries. No matter what your lifestyle may consist of you can and should always use good body mechanics. I comprised a list below of some healthy methods and tips for lifting or moving light or heavy objects:
1. Keep a wide base of support (feet shoulder length apart)
2. Keep object close to you when lifting and holding the object
3. Make sure to bend your knees and hip (NEVER BEND AT THE HIP WITH KNEES STRAIGHT TO LIFT)
4. Lift with your legs and not with your back or arms. (remember your legs are the strongest muscle on your body)
5. Don’t twist or bend sideways with holding a load
6. Better to push then to pull
Wait!!! Before you go I know you probably thinking, I don’t lift heavy objects every day and this information doesn’t apply to me. However, you’re wrong! People can injure their back just with everyday activities or simple task like bending over to pick something off the floor. If you already experiencing back pain especially after sleeping or when waking up it may be due to your mattress or a fatigued back from improper body mechanics and overuse. When selecting a mattress it should be comfortable and firm and provide a stable foundation. If your mattress is soft just make sure the box provides a firm foundation to prevent slack and sagging.
***A little tip for sleeping back pain free!!!!***
Back Sleepers: you should use 1 or 2 pillows under your knee and if needed a small roll under lower back to maintain proper alignment.
Stomach Sleepers: place a pillow under lower abdomen and pelvic region.
Side Sleepers: should place pillow between knees, small roll under lumbar region (lower trunk) and of course pillow for your head. This will allow your hip and spine to be in good alignment.
There are plenty of other techniques to use while performing your activities of daily living to prevent back injuries. These are just a few important tips for beginners to use to keep your back injury free. Hopefully, if you incorporate these techniques it will assist in your start to minimizing your risk to injuries.
Always remember, I got your back!
Dominique Paul, PT, DPT