Back pain — especially lower back pain — is probably the single most common complaint in American society. Some people have genetic factors that make them more inclined toward back pain than others; some have injuries they got in high school or earlier that changed the way they stand or walk that resulted in long-term, low-grade muscle strain. Then there are people whose jobs or home lives demand that they work those muscles — or, in the case of the cubicle jockey, completely fail to work those muscles — every day.
Fortunately, for those last two groups — the over-workers and the under-workers — there are fairly simple solutions.
The Science of Lifting
If you have a job that requires you to lift awkward or heavy loads often, learning how to lift properly is crucial to reducing back pain. Lift with your back straight, your entire body facing the same direction (never lift while twisted), and by providing most of the power with your legs. Align your shoulders, hips, and feet so that the weight of the object is passed directly onto the floor without unnecessary muscular effort.
The Science of Sitting
Ergonomics was huge a decade ago; it was the science of figuring out how to make it most comfortable to sit in the same position for hours on end. Unfortunately, as much as ergonomics tried, the human body isn’t made to sit in the same position for hours on end; it causes enormous strain on the lumbar muscles. The solution is simple: get out of your office chair every 45 minutes and spend just 5 minutes on your feet, moving around. Even a long-distance truck driver with the world’s most comfortable anti-vibration seat needs a break at least every hour and a half to avoid lower back pain.
While you do sit in your chair, sit in it properly: ears, shoulders, and hips lined up vertically to reduce strain on your spine. If you have a keyboard, your chair should be lined up so that your elbows can be on your armrest while your wrists are on your wristrest. If you’re driving, shift your arms’ positions regularly so that no one set of muscles is constantly picking up the strain.
Every occupation naturally has its own risks, demands, and proper approaches. Talk to your boss about safety and injury reduction at your workplace; most modern jobs have plenty of information about the subject at hand. If you have an office job, consider investing in a back pain relieving office chair. If you do end up injuring your back, pick up a bottle of a powerful, all natural anti-inflammatory and lay off for a day or two to give your back the chance to heal.
Ultimately the best solution is to consult a qualified Neuromuscular Massage Therapist!