Thursday, June 6, 2013

Your back.  It’s one of the most important parts of your body.  But more people in the world have back problems and it’s because they abuse it.  We don’t realize how we damage tissues, nerves, muscles doing everyday things.  

You’ve probably been told many times that when you pick up something heavy to be sure to bend your knees.   You’ve also probably heard that when you are highly stressed, you carry most of the burden of whatever it troubling you in your upper back and shoulders.   Did you know that when you drive for long periods of time in your car, that your lower back really takes on a lot of strain?  Did you also know that if have previous injuries or conditions, you could possibly do further damage from simply taking on speed bumps or turns too swiftly, pulling a muscle or cause a disk to go out of alignment?   

If you have been in a car accident or have had a sports injury, you’ve probably gone to physical therapists and chiropractors and are aware of back health and how important it is.   If you have a strenuous job in construction, warehousing (products and goods, to unloading trucks), moving or other physical labor inclusive of jobs where there is a lot of standing (security, host/hostess, doorman, airports, sales jobs on the product floor, trade shows, etc.) you are putting strain on your back. 

Did you know that back pain could be caused by something internally?    Kidney trouble, gas and indigestion, constipation and bowel/colon trouble are a few issues.  You could also have arthritis, endometriosis or other infections, or it could be stress or even cancer. If your pain is on-going for a long period of time you should see your regular general practitioner to rule out anything serious. 

When you hurt your back, it’s important to not let the pain linger too long without getting checked out. While you may know if you’ve injured your back from sports or exercise or just pulling a muscle, it’s important to make sure you don’t have anything more serious.  Sometimes pain can compound itself and actually be a sign of something more serious than you realize.  It’s always a good idea to get regular checkups and consult your physician immediately.

Here are some of the greatest things you can do for your back:

·         Warm bath soaks with peppermint oil and lavender oil help with relaxing muscles and also providing soothing relief as well as anti-inflammatory affects.   This is often utilized in sports medicine therapies and helpful for common back problems.  

·         Bend and stretch.  You need do this every day.  If you have a desk job, take breaks. If you have a standing job, bend and stretch.  Always bend and stretch before you run or work out.
Take a cue from your pets – they yawn and stretch when they wake up and before they go to sleep.  It actually promotes better sleep.

·         Shoes.  If your heels are worn down, you could be doing extensive damage to your back. Most people do NOT walk evenly. If you are one of them, check the bottom of your shoes.  Do you notice that one shoe may be worn down a little more on one than the other?  Are they unevenly worn (i.e. right shoe is worn down more on the heel or the side or the left shoe is worn where the ball of your foot is?)  - This is an indicator of how you are carrying your frame, and misaligning your own spine just from wearing uneven shoes.  If you keep wearing these shoes in this condition, you can be inviting more pain to your back.

·         Empty your briefcase, backpack, purse and eliminate carrying more than you really need.  Believe it or not, over time if you keep carrying heavy items, you could be adding extra stress or strain to your back. Unload clutter.  And when it comes to groceries or anything else you carry – take more trips instead of trying to be a hero carrying more than your back can handle.  

·         Stand up straight.  This isn’t only something your mother told you.  This is something that actually is good for you.  Your posture helps keep your back in total alignment and opens up your lung capacity and balances your body.

·         Be aware of your physical being around kids and pets.  If you are a parent or pet owner – be very aware how you pick up your child or pet.  The ‘bending of the knees’ rule in picking up heavy objects still applies here.   For example:  You have a 40 lb. terracotta planter pot for your patio that you are trying to pick up and move.  Default thinking and response is automatic, ‘bend your knees.’  In a situation where your child is screaming/crying or your pet is barking, screeching or yelping, you are distracted from your knee-jerk reaction of thinking clearly first about your back. 

·         Cut back on alcohol and caffeine and drink more water.  This will help your kidneys and alleviate this kind of related pain.

·         Flip your mattress (and get help from a relative or friend to do this as you do not want to do your back damage trying to do this yourself).  If you are noticing you have dips in your mattress, you’ve pinpointed your back problems!  Time to get a new one as your springs are no longer working properly and supporting your back properly.   If your springs are fine, flipping your mattress (both OVER and ‘around’ – to switch head/toe placement) and doing this regularly (every quarter), is a good way to get even wear on your mattress, make it last longer and also help your back in the long run.  And since we’re talking about a good night’s sleep – stomach sleepers have more back pain than back sleepers!

·         Get Lumbar support… whether it’s your office chair or your car, time to make sure you have that lower back Lumbar support for times you are sitting for long periods.

·         Meditation, breathing and exercise are also important to alleviate stress.  Stress adds up and it adds up to equal added back pain.  Be sure to take care of yourself and release stress.  We encourage journaling, singing, peaceful walks to help you release stress and add to increasing your overall capability of handling stressful issues in life. 

By taking care of your back, you’ll soon be BACK to feeling like yourself.  And be sure to get regular checkups to make sure you don’t have anything serious going on.  Do all that you can for preventative measures and you’ll be sure that you’ll always have your back’s back!  

~ Athena & Tess – We Solved It


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