I am convinced that success is the sum of little effort repeated every day. Every day we are able to do a lot to take care of ourselves – prevent degeneration of the spine or improve its form. In this way, we minimize the risk of acute or chronic back pain. So what to do to stay fit for a long time?
1. MOVE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
The basis for maintaining the well-being of the spine is physical activity. All the more important in today’s essentially sedentary lifestyle. Each spine movement changes the pressure inside the intervertebral disc, the so-called disk. The change in pressure determines its good hydration, and this in turn ensures proper nutrition. The better nourished the disc, the lower the risk of its degenerative changes. If we do not have pain and want to maintain this state of affairs, we should provide our body with as much diversified movement as possible. Each type of physical activity is indicated and recommended here. We should pay special attention to strengthening the core muscles (back, buttocks, so-called core) and leg muscles – strong foundations are the basis of health and good shape. Regular physical activity prevents muscle atrophy and loss of flexibility, and allows you to maintain an appropriate range of motion in the joints and increases body awareness. Sufficiently strong muscles allow the spine to be kept in the correct position, thanks to which we prevent injuries and overloads. In a situation where pain symptoms already occur, the form of activity should be individually adjusted to the needs by an experienced physiotherapist.
2. WORK WITH YOUR HEAD
Work ergonomics is especially important in the case of people working mainly in a sitting position. The sitting position is the most stressful body position for the lumbar spine:
25 kg – lying position on the back with lower limbs bent at the knee joints (lower legs on the platform)
40 kg – lying down position with the lower limbs straight
75 kg – side lying position
100 kg – standing position
150 kg – standing position with the torso tilted forward
140 kg – sitting position with the back straight and supported
170 kg – sitting position with the torso tilted forward
It is worth investing in a suitable chair to maintain the correct posture – the angle of the hip and knee joints is 90 degrees, the feet touch the ground, the backrest of the chair is contoured (the one that “pushes” the lumbar section) or the lumbar shafts used so that the back rests on length and positioned so that the torso is straight. And it is best to replace the chair with a large ball, which will force active sitting and engage the core and deep muscles. Place the desk at such a height that the forearms lie freely on the table top and the shoulders are not raised up. The computer screen should be positioned directly at eye level. We should also remember about the rule: 30 minutes of sitting, 1 minute of break – when we have a sitting job approximately every half an hour, we should get up and go for another coffee;), or simply walk down the corridor to change positions. Breaks in work during prolonged sitting, however, are best used for short stretching exercises – in the sitting position, the iliopsoas muscles are shortened, which promotes the occurrence of pain in the lower spine.
3. LIFT WISELY
There are several commandments that, if not followed, will eventually lead to problems with the spine and the physiotherapist’s office:
Pick up objects from the ground correctly – not by bending, but by squatting. Never bend down on straight legs. Bend your legs and come down low, keeping your back straight, without leaning forward. Hold the heavy object as close to your torso as possible, tense your stomach and only lift the object up by extending your legs,
Avoid bending on straightened legs, especially in the morning – the intervertebral disc is most hydrated (it “collects” water overnight), which manifests itself as a feeling of stiffness or discomfort right after getting out of bed. Bending in the lumbar region favors a large increase in pressure in the disc, which in extreme situations may damage it. As part of the morning start-up, dynamic movements of the pelvic anterior and posterior inclination (tail curling) for min. 2-3 minutes
do not stand in one position for a long time – use footrests when working for long periods while standing
do not wash your head in the bathtub by bending down, but by kneeling down and resting your chest on its edge,
choose a backpack instead of heavy bags, and if you have to do volleyball with your shopping, hold the bags in both hands, not in one, to maintain symmetry of the load.
4. MOBILIZE AND STRETCH YOURSELF
Daily short sets of appropriate movements will allow you to maintain the correct length of the muscles and prevent contractures or their permanent shortening, as well as