is mechanical back pain?
Mechanical back pain is the name given to
any type of back pain, which is caused by putting abnormal stress
and strain on the muscles which support the vertebral column.
For the most part, this type of pain is as
a result of bad habits which can be corrected, such as: bad posture; poorly-designed
seating; incorrect methods of bending and lifting etc.
Women, particularly those with young children,
are more susceptible to mechanical back pain than men. Most women stoop down
to pick up small children instead of bending from the knees, and the very damaging
practice of slinging small children onto one hip is widespread.
can it be avoided?
The sad fact of the matter is that most of
us never give a second thought to the health of our back until something goes
wrong. There are a few simple rules which should be observed so as to ensure
that the back remains in a healthy condition and is not subjected to undue stress
- Choose high-backed chairs for your home.
A chair should be high enough to allow easy rising and sitting, and when sitting
on the chair your knees should be at right angles and your feet flat on the
floor. Avoid slouching in soft armchairs for long periods of time, and always
try to gently arise from a sitting position rather than jumping up.
- Chairs at work should have adaptable seat
height and a back rest. They should allow you to swivel from one work surface
to another without any strain, and to look slightly down onto a computer screen.
- When washing hair, try to kneel at the
side of the bath and use a shower attachment, or shampoo hair in the shower,
rather than leaning over a sink.
- Always use a non-slip mat in the bath
and consider investing in a handrail. Many back injuries are caused by slipping
in the bath.
- If engaged in repetitive tasks such as
gardening, it is important to take regular breaks so as to allow a change
of posture and position.
- Avoid the wearing of tight, restrictive
clothing and very high heels as much as possible.
- When shopping divide heavy loads between
bags and carry equal amounts in each hand. Always use trollies where provided
and do not be shy about asking the shop assistant to pack your backs and help
you to your car if you suffer with back pain.
- Avoid constipation, as straining to pass
a motion is a common cause of lower back pain.
- Obesity is another major cause of strain
on the back, so try to maintain a healthy weight.
- When picking up small children, it is
most important to bend from the knees and to hold the child closely in front
of you. The same rule applies when picking up any heavy object.
- Exercise classes, while they are definitely
good for mental and physical well-being, may result in mechanical back pain.
This arises mainly as a result of the widespread practice of touching the
toes, doing sit-ups and making full circles with the neck, all of which place
undue strain on the back.
- Buy a good, firm orthopaedic mattress
for your bed and throw out that old, sagging mattress which is doing untold
damage to your back while you sleep!
the pain persists, what should I do?
Mechanical back pain will rarely persist
if steps are taken to correct the factors which caused it in the first place.
If the pain does persist it may indicate a more serious problem and it should,
therefore, be thoroughly investigated.
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