In our practice, we see too many cases of severe back pain whose cause can definitely be avoided. From poor posture to an accident, while lifting a heavy object, our patients came to us looking for pain relief without resorting to painkillers. And we are more than happy to help them return to their regular activities and full enjoyment of life. But we are also aware that many people do not know that they can avoid back injuries if they are more careful.
Thus, we decided to share some simple and effective tips to help you prevent accidents and correct habits which lead to acute or chronic back problems. We believe that a chiropractor’s mission is not only to treat patients but to help them improve their quality of life by changing their lifestyles.
How Widespread Are Back Pain Problems?
According to statistical data collected by Georgetown University, back pain is one of the most frequent complaints among Americans. No less than 65 million people have reported a case of back pain in the recent period. And 16 million people (8% of the adult US population) suffer from chronic back pain.
Other findings of the statistical report show that:
• $12 billion is the annual total direct and indirect costs related to back pain
• 83 million days of work are lost each year due to back pain
• 72% of people who suffer from back pain also experience a negative psychological impact (feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness).
Finally, the patients who chose chiropractic to treat back pain reported being satisfied with the results, as well as the fact that the practitioner gave them useful self-care tips.
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How to Avoid Back Injuries: a Chiropractor’s Viewpoint
Based on our extensive experience with various causes of back pain, we have identified the most common injuries and activities that lead to this debilitating condition. Therefore, if you want to avoid back injuries, you should consider the following advice:
Be Careful When Lifting Heavy Items
One of the most frequent causes of muscle strains and spine misalignments (including a slipped disc) is lifting a heavy object in an incorrect manner. Most people tend to bend over, grab an item from the floor and lift it up. However, your spine is not designed like a crane and cannot withstand extreme effort.
If you want to avoid back injuries, always bend your knees and lift up the heavy item while keeping your back straight. Likewise, when changing direction (turning around a corner) while carrying a heavy object, make the movement with your legs, not your upper torso.
Ideally, if your work involves a lot of heavy lifting, have a bench or table available to put the objects on before you lift them in your arms. It may appear as extra effort, but it actually represents less strain for your spine and back muscles.
Always Stretch before Intense Physical Effort
A lot of fit and active people visit a chiropractor complaining of back pain. They jog, they go to the gym or play tennis – yet they have a clear problem with their back. During the initial evaluation appointment, the chiropractor usually learns that they do not warm up their muscles properly before engaging in sports activities.
This is one of the simplest ways to avoid back injuries: always start your workout routines with a series of stretching exercises. Their purpose is to prepare the muscles to expand and contract to their full range and sustain the extra effort.
If you don’t know how to do this, your chiropractor will teach you simple and effective stretching routines, adapted for each person (including office workers who want to relax after a day of sitting down at the desk).
Correct Your Posture
Poor posture is one of the leading causes of chronic back pain and other serious issues, including digestive and sleep problems. A chiropractor will quickly evaluate your posture and show you what to do to correct it.
This is not just one of the best ways to avoid back injuries, but also the solution of many other issues that you were not aware that were caused by poor postures, such as:
• Stiff neck
• The sensation of pin and needles in the legs
• Hearing issues
• Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Do Not Leave Back Injuries Untreated
If, despite your best efforts to avoid back injuries, you get hurt, make sure that you seek help for this issue. Pain is the signal that something is wrong with your body. Left untreated, back pain can become chronic and trigger other problems, such as the formation of scar tissue and reduced mobility.
Our chiropractors are always ready to help you avoid back injuries with helpful tips and to treat any back condition in a safe and non-invasive manner, so call us to set up an initial appointment!