Your daily routine can be a pain … literally
We live in a world where we’re constantly in a hurry, juggling multiple tasks and carrying our belongings with us everywhere. And, believe it or not, this can have serious consequences on your back health. In fact, back pain sends more patients to doctors than any condition other than the common cold.1 Here are some common activities that negatively impact Canadian’s back health:
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Commuting1: just like sitting at your desk, hunching over your steering wheel can cause your muscles to tighten, curving your back. Over time this can result in long-term lower back problems. This is important for the 15.4 million Canadians who commute to keep in mind2.
How to fix it: be sure to sit at a 90 degree angle and don’t fully extend your legs. Move your seat up to allow yourself to sit up straight. Adjust your lumbar to fit your back, and if it’s not enough support, try rolling up a towel to help decrease stress on your lower back.
Work life: did you know sitting puts 40 per cent more pressure on your spine than standing? It’s important to remember your posture especially when you’ve had a long day at your desk1.
How to fix it: practice ‘active sitting’ with your feet flat on the floor in front of you with your back straight, your shoulders squared and chin parallel with the floor. Also, ensure your workspace is set up to enable frequent breaks from sitting, like getting up to go to the printer and taking phone calls while standing.
Carrying your belongings: when you’re carrying a heavy purse or laptop bag, your shoulders become out of line. This can cause your muscles to ache and throw your spine out of line1.
How to fix it: reduce the number of items you carry with you. Also consider using a backpack to help distribute the weight of your load evenly across your body. This will help avoid the stress of isolated muscles overcompensating for unevenly distributed weight.
Improper lifting: you’re not alone if you have strained your back while lifting heavy boxes. Lifting heavy items improperly can put undue pressure on your spine3 and even cause spinal disc injury4.
How to fix it: picture yourself doing the lift before engaging to ensure you’re keeping the object in front of you, your back is straight and you’re lifting with your knees/hips rather than your back.
- Commuting to work. Statistics Canada – http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-012-x/99-012-x2011003_1-eng.cfm