Practical Daily Strategies to Avoid Back Pain

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Whether you’re a student, work in an office or run your own business from home, your daily routine can be a pain … literally. And often, it’s not the big tasks that take the biggest toll on our bodies.

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 individuals to seek medical attention than almost any other ailment, second only to the common cold.

Let’s explore some common activities that adversely affect the back health of Canadians:

Back Pain and Commuting

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 mind.

The solution

  • 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.

Back Pain in Your Work life

Did you know sitting puts 40 percent more pressure on your spine than standing? It’s important to remember your posture especially when you’ve had a long day at your desk.

The solution

  • 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.
  • 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.

Read some of our posts on how stretching can help alleviate the pain from improper desk posture.

Back Pain from 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 line.

The solution

  • Reduce the number of items you carry with you.
  • 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.

Read some of our posts on choosing the right backpack and lifting your luggage correctly.

Back Pain from Improper Lifting

Strained your back while lifting heavy boxes? You’re not alone. Lifting heavy items improperly can put undue pressure on your spine and even cause spinal disc injury.

The solution

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.

Related: Five Things Your Chiropractor Wishes You’d Stop Doing

How can chiropractic and massage therapy help with your back pain?

Chiropractic treatment relieves back pain using effective clinical tools like manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, exercise, patient education and rehabilitation.

Extensively trained in spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), chiropractors are proficient in providing specialized care which has been proven effective in reducing pain, improving function, and decreasing the chances of low back pain becoming a chronic condition.

Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera can provide education on your spine and posture and create a personalized treatment plan for your low back pain designed to ease pain and lower your risk of recurrence.

Therapeutic massage therapy is also available at our clinic by Ajax massage therapists Rolf Castanheiro and Jessica Raedisch.

Call 905-427-3202 to learn more and book an appointment.

Your Back-to-School Guide to Backpack Safety

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If you’re preparing to send your children off to school next month, Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera encourage you to use common sense when choosing their new backpack for the school year.

How your children carry their backpacks can affect their health.

Carrying a heavy load that is unevenly or improperly distributed can result in poor posture; and even distort the spinal column, throwing it out of alignment. This can cause muscle strain, headaches, back, neck and arm pain, and even nerve damage.

A heavy backpack carried on one shoulder, for example, forces the muscles and spine to compensate for the uneven weight. This places stress on the mid and lower back and may increase the likelihood of back problems later in life.

While we don’t often associate neck, shoulder and back pain with children and teens, we should. More than 50 per cent of young people experience at least one episode of low back pain by the time they reach their teenage years, with research indicating that the improper use of backpacks is one of the major causes.

If your child does complain of back pain, numbness or weakness in his or her arms and legs, it’s crucial that they get help to prevent future problems. Contact the Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage Therapy clinic to learn more at 905-427-3202.

Does your child know the proper way to carry a backpack?

Prevention is key. Here are a few tips for helping your school-age children carry their backpack comfortably and safely.

Choose the right backpack

Leather may look great, but it’s far too heavy. Go for vinyl or canvas instead. Choose a backpack that has two wide, adjustable, padded shoulder straps, along with a hip or waist strap, padded back and plenty of pockets. Make sure the pack fits properly, is not too snug around the arms and under the armpits, and that its size is proportionate to the wearer’s body.

Pack light — they’re not moving out!

Make sure your child’s backpack contains only what is needed for that day, ensuring that the weight is distributed evenly. It’s a good idea to know roughly what each item weighs. The total weight of the filled pack should be no more than 10 to 15 per cent of the wearer’s own body weight. Pack heaviest objects close to the body, and place bumpy or odd-shaped ones on the outside, away from the back.

Teach your child the proper way to put on a backpack

It’s a good idea to help young children with this, at least the first few times. Put the backpack on a flat surface, at waist height. Slip on the pack, one shoulder at a time, then adjust the straps to fit comfortably. Remember when lifting a backpack, or anything, to lift using the arms and legs and to bend at the knees.

Wear it right — make the backpack do the work!

Both shoulder straps should be used, and adjusted so that the pack fits snugly to the body, without dangling to the side. Backpacks should never be worn over just one shoulder. You should be able to slide your hand between the backpack and your child’s back. The waist strap should also be worn for added stability.

To learn more, book a consultation with Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble or Dr. Mark Fera at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage. Call us today at 905-427-3202.

With content from the Ontario Chiropractic Association