Are you really looking after your back? Our guide below includes:
- Are you wearing the right shoes?
- Have you got the right mattress?
- Is your workplace ‘back friendly’?
- Is your handbag ‘a pain’?
- Could your car be causing your back pain?
- Your sex
Are you wearing the right shoes?
You may not be surprised to learn that high heels put stress on the spine, but ultra-flat shoes such as ballet shoes are also a ‘no-no’ for backs.
If you wear flip-flops or other backless styles you are at risk too. This sort of foot wear requires you to tense your feet which in turn puts added stress on your body and back.
The best heel to wear for your back is around one inch. And don’t think wearing trainers lets you off the hook – running shoes wear out after 400-600 miles and no longer provide the necessary support!
Have you got the right mattress?
You may think that a rock hard mattress is the thing for your back – but a 2003 Lancet study found that firm mattresses are not the best for people with low back pain.
In a randomised trial, mattresses with a medium firmness were found to be much more effective in relieving the symptoms of back pain.
Is your workplace ‘back friendly’?
Having your computer even very slightly off centre, or too far away – which means you have to crane forward to see it- puts undue pressure on your spine and causes tension to build up.
Make sure that your chair, monitor, telephone and other equipment are all correctly sited. Good posture is very important, do not slump over your desk and make sure you are sitting upright with relaxed shoulders. If you spend two hours or more a day on the telephone – get a headset!
Is your handbag ‘a pain’?
Whether it’s a lap top bag, a briefcase, or an oversized handbag – don’t always carry it on the same shoulder or hand, as this will put extra weight on one side of your spine.
Do regular bag clear outs so you aren’t carrying unnecessary weight. Better yet- use a ruck sack to more evenly distribute the weight.
Could your car be causing your back pain?
For most back ache that appears when you are driving, seat set up is the issue – so always adjust the position to suit you and use cushions if necessary.
However, the vibration of the car itself can also cause back pain and can exacerbate pre-existing back ache. According to the charity Back Care – people who drive over 25, 000 miles per year are off sick with back ache seven times more than non-drivers.
Take regular breaks when travelling long distances – and make sure you get out of your car and walk around and stretch!
While back pain affects both men and women – there are gender differences.
Men are more likely to experience short, acute attacks of pain or injury – whilst women’s pain tends to be lower-level but longer lasting, caused by repetitive action such as domestic work and child care. Back pain affects 40 – 60% of women during pregnancy, whilst period pain can also trigger an attack.