Saturday, July 17, 2010

Back Pain

Did you know that we bend and twist our spinal column 1500 to 2000 times per day and that 35% of the positions we use are hurting us? It’s not a surprise that this delicate area composed of 33 vertebras is susceptible to so many injuries. Back pain is the most common health problem in our society. Nearly 80 % of the population will suffer from severe back pain and for 10 %, it will become a chronic problem.

Several factors are at the origin of back pain: micro traumas generated by bad repetitive movements, stress that creates muscular tensions and contractions, extra weight which compresses the vertebras and tires the spinal column, bad posture, etc. Back pain can also be caused by various pathologies (scoliosis, osteoarthritis, herniated disc, osteoporosis, etc). The majority of back pain is attributed to misuse and bad life habits.

Being sedentary brings about bad muscular tonus, poor posture and does not promote fl exibility. Your back needs to move and to be in motion to maintain its strength and its mobility. To maintain your back in good condition it is essential to exercise. Activities that are most recommended: walking, swimming, biking (in sitting position with a straight back),yoga, pilates, stretching and muscular reinforcement adapted at a moderate intensity. At work, take a few minutes to get up, walk around and stretch. By strengthening muscles (abdominals, lumbar, buttocks muscles), you increase your endurance and your muscular control, which decreases the risk of potentially hurting your back.

These recommendations apply to occasional back pain episodes and chronic pain episodes. However, it is always better to consult a health care professional in order to avoid aggravating your symptoms or condition. In the case of acute pain due to trauma or a bad movement, lots of rest and control of the symptoms is recommended (ice, medication, analgesics, etc.). Once the crisis has passed, it is imperative to be guided back to your daily activities to avoid a relapse or recurrences. Contact a physiotherapist who will be able to evaluate your condition and to recommend a plan of treatment and exercises that will correspond to your personal needs.

Written by Rémi Bergeron, physiotherapist at the Downtown Montreal Action Sport Physio clinic.

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