The best way to deal with lower back pain is to look at back injury prevention. Back issues are the second most common reason for disability claims in the past decade, especially workplace injuries. Moving heavy loads is common when decorating for the holiday season, especially with the repetitive motion needed to decorate. Looking at your home as your work environment and yard as your work area will get a proper perspective. The following tips will provide both regular exercise routine and good body mechanics to prevent an injured back. Each example of good habits will have written and video forms to reduce your risk of injury.
Basic Anatomy Lesson To Inform Back Injury Prevention
Arguably, your musculo-skeletal, cardiovascular and neurological systems are the most important to the topic of back health. Understanding how each works is important to giving you the perspective you need to keep yourself safe.
Bones are the basic frame of your body, providing the underlying shape for and stability of your muscles. Ligaments help provide the underlying attachments between bones (and are what are hurting in joint pain). Tendons are what attach muscles onto your bones, making muscles a useful tool for heavy lifting. Back muscles will assist in holding your spinal cord in alignment by pulling vertebrae into or out of alignment. Furthermore, having strong and healthy leg muscles and stomach muscles are both important to good core stability. Providing the strong base for even everyday activities, they will prevent unnecessary stress on your lower spine.
Your spinal column is key to providing an upright position, providing more than the natural curve of your back. Your spinal nerves, flowing from the back of your head to tail bone, providing messages your body needs. In order to maintain proper posture, the messages need to properly transmit up and down the spine. Sensory neurons carry messages to your brain and motor neurons from your brain to your muscles. A herniated disc means that a spinal vertebrae is slightly pushed out of place which can mean a pinched nerve. If a nerve or the cord in general gets pinched, it will squeeze off the ability to send/receive messages properly. This can mean disability or discomfort so ensuring a healthy back means staving off physical issues for a long time. Chiropractors and massage therapists can do a lot to prevent/treat low back pain but the most effective way is prevention.
Getting winded hanging one set of lights or having a heart attack on the ladder is not terribly helpful. All body tissues need oxygen which is pulled in by your lungs and infused into your blood vessels. Blood starts from the right side of your heart then spreads through the blood vessels surrounding your lungs. It absorbs oxygen then travels to the left side of the heart where it starts its journey around the body. The harder your body has to work, the more oxygen it needs and the harder your heart works. This is due to your heart working harder to pick up oxygen in the lungs and move it around the body. Regular exercise will help your heart to develop better circulation and more efficient blood flow. However, the extra flow required for overweight people will put a strain on your heart and predispose to heart attacks.
Stretching & Techniques For Back Injury Prevention
Giving a rundown on the stretches would waste your time so just refer to my videos. In them my physiotherapist friend outlines how to do a proper squat, which is applicable to lifting boxes/large decor
Don’t throw your back out picking up decorations and boxes this holiday season. Prepare your body first #Christmas #Holiday #Decoration #exercise #squat #physicaltherapy #stretching #holidaydisplaytips
After that, the proper technique for lifting/carrying boxes and large items.
Then how to do useful stretches laying down that will help prevent injury during the season.
American Kettlebell Swing for Back Injury Prevention
In the attached video, a physical therapist demonstrates how to reduce the risk of back injury using the kettlebell. Kettlebell exercises are a great way to practice proper lifting techniques in a number of ways. Improper lifting won’t be fixed by targeting a select number of muscles with repetitive tasks or practicing with heavy objects. To practice safe lifting techniques and build your upper back strength, using a light load with good posture is important. Obtained results over a period of time come from properly practicing on a daily basis with a healthy weight. Greater risk is found when over exerting in number of reps or weight so plan for long periods before results.
Squats and other Weightlifting
Squatting with the weight will provide practice for the load height to start at ground level. Doing weight exercises on a bench or other conventional weight training position will not be practical. So ultimately making sure you replicate the movement you will be doing is most important. Having someone do the observation of the posture positions you use during the exercise and help you develop a neutral position. A study using an optical motion capture system and inertial measurement units showed that the average person does not do a neutral spine position. This means these voluntary subjects are not properly staying upright and using a good hip hinge. There is no evidence that a back support belt will protect from work-related back injuries. Therefore mechanical aids and other manual materials are only guides to proper form, not a solution to poor physical condition.
Walking With the Weight
Once you have mastered safely picking up the weight moving with it is the next step. Using a hand truck or pallet jacks to carry your items is ideal but rarely practical. Practice makes perfect, especially with the work it takes to carry heavier items for a distance. Refer to the above video for examples and ideas.
Getting Your Own Kettlebell Set
It may be common sense that you wouldn’t order weight by mail as you usually pay for shipping by weight. However, there is good news that you can get free shipping through Amazon for full sets of kettlebells. This means you can work your way up, and get it all for a very affordable price.
Back Injury Prevention Reflected In Overall Health
In addition to proper technique and training, being in good shape in the entire body is relevant. With the industrialization of fitness, the definition of good health has become complicated as the Department of Health recommendations change. However, physical fitness is arguably more straightforward as a healthy weight and enough sleep are the biggest keys. Extra weight will create extra strain on your back and predispose you to injury. Likewise, a lack of sleep will give you less energy to put into maintaining proper posture. Furthermore, the closer to ideal body weight you are, the less strain on your cardiovascular and respiratory system. Extra weight means an increased demand for blood flow and, relatedly, oxygen, which makes you more at risk for other health issues during the holidays.
What If It’s Too Late To Prevent An Injury?
Tai Chi is an underestimated way to deal with back pain and/or back injury. The attached link shows its usefulness to occupational safety and how easy it is on the spine. As is explained, “unlike many types of aerobic exercise Tai Chi does not involve any jarring motions that create impact on the spine. It is a slow and deliberate, flowing movement of the body.” Furthermore, keeping strong abdominal muscles keeps a stronger posture which will help prevent re-injury. Incidentally, maintaining a strong and proper posture will work out your ‘core’, aka abdominal muscles. Finally, stretching is important but consult an expert as the science on what is harmful/helpful regularly changes, ex. the side bend stretch has scholarly research that says its harmful while other material recommends it.