Spine – do not underestimate first symptoms
Lack of sport, sedentary lifestyle, long-term work on a computer, incorrect body posture at the desk or neglect of defects recognized in childhood – these are main reasons of spine pains.
Recently, a large group of patients has included office workers who spend long hours at the desk, do not practice any sport or do it very rarely. Their weak muscles of abdomen and around the spine do not sufficiently support the spine. It stretches and damages ligaments and weakens the amortization of spine load.
The spine pain nags at people lifting weights. There are also patients whose spine has started to hurt when they suddenly lifted something heavy, or even when they made a short and quick twist of the body or a sudden forward bend. As a result, their intervertebral disks got damaged which manifests itself by an acute local pain or one radiating to arms.
Symptoms of back diseases and degeneration include pain, sometimes strong one, disturbing movements. They often include headaches in the occipital zone; stiffened or weakened muscles around shoulders or arms may indicate cervical spine diseases. When it comes to the lumbar region, the pain or stiffening and weakening may involve lower limbs. This kind of problems may be sometimes eased by a hot shower which will relax tense and sore spine muscles.
Every spine pain which lasts more than a few days should be consulted with an orthopaedist,
which will diagnose its reason and prescribe appropriate treatment. Back pains are treated pharmacologically and by means of physical treatments, massage, manual therapy and physical exercises. Research has confirmed that the best results can be obtained by a simultaneous application of several therapy forms. However, the person performing this type of treatments has to be experienced and qualified, since an incompetent massage or badly selected therapies may do more harm than good.
A common reason of back pains in adulthood may be a postural defect which was diagnosed in childhood. Therefore, it is extremely important to control children’s posture during the whole period of their development. Parents should be worried by i.e. lateral deviation of the spine, the asymmetry of the right and left body sides, forward head and shoulder postures, considerable abdominal protrusions, protruding shoulder blades, asymmetrical positions of shoulders and shoulder blades or shoulder and waist triangles. In order to keep children’s posture correct, kids should regularly practice sport and avoid hunching.
A long-term sitting posture is mostly detrimental to the lumbar and lower back regions. – Ergonomic experts have invented for a long time plenty of devices which prevent spine pains.
Yet, even the most comfortable armchair will not protect us against spine pain if we do not take care of our back by means of exercises. During the day, it is worth to make an hour break, leave the computer, stand up and have a stroll, make some squats and some stretching.
It is also recommended to take care of appropriate working conditions. The chair should be enough tall so that when we sit, our feet should easily touch the ground, and the angle between thighs and shins should not be smaller than 90 degrees. The chair backrest should reach our shoulder blades and support our back all the way long. The seat should be comfortable, but not too soft. A seat bent forward and a significant body weight located on our knees makes our lumbar region physiologically bent forward. It is the most beneficial position which prevents the overload of the spine.
The height of a desk should be selected so that a person working at it is not obliged to lean forward. It is also the case of the computer screen location. A long-term forward bend position of the head renders neck and shoulder belt muscles tense, which may result in pains of cervical spine, shoulders or head. It is also worth to look after correct adjustment of a car seat. It should be controlled in the lumbar region, and a headrest should be positioned so that the head constitutes a natural spine extension.
Swimming brings relief
There is no golden mean which will protects us against spine pains, but regular sport practice will let us enjoy our health for a long time. Most of us make a physical effort occasionally. It’s wrong. Everybody should choose a discipline which will please them remembering to gradually increase the effort. – I particularly recommend swimming which strengthens spine and abdominal muscles, and what’s more, it constitutes a form of exercises without overburden, in contrast to e.g. team games or running. An appropriate technique is important in swimming. It is not recommended to do the breaststroke without plunging the head, sine the lumbar and cervical parts of spine are excessively bent in such position, abdominal muscle do not work, and narrowed intervertebral holes put pressure on radicles. I do not advise doing this stroke especially by people who complain about the cervical pain. Therefore, it is better to learn how to swim correctly than overload the spine with a wrong technique.
For back health, persons training in a gym should avoid exercises leading to vertical spine overload. Before we start to play basketball, volleyball or ride a horse, we should train and strengthen back and abdominal muscles.
Cycling does not overload the spine, especially the lumbar region. It is highly recommended as a means of transport and a form of relaxation at the same time especially for people with developed pains. When cycling, you can suffer from cervical pains which may be prevented by adjusting the height of steering wheel so that you do not excessively bend back this part of the spine.