Prevention and first aid for back pain
From slight tension to sharp, permanent pain – back pain is deemed to be the most widespread disease. Whether school-aged children or retirees – nearly all age groups are affected by it. What's behind these widespread complaints, and can they even be prevented?
The causes for an affliction that apparently everyone will eventually suffer from are as diverse as the individual complaints themselves. The good news: only in very rare cases is it caused by a serious illness. One thing specifically is held responsible for the rising number of patients with back pain: lack of physical exercise. Muscle tension due to misalignment, unilateral strain, and age are other factors that have a very unfavourable effect on the back.
Sitting, specifically, is the greatest evil. We sit approximately 14 hours per day – at the desk, in the car, or in front of a screen. Stress and tension then push our spine past the point of endurance. The trunk muscles, which are to support the body, are completely tense, much too weak, or both at the same time. Pain is the logical consequence, because balance is missing.
More activity in everyday life and the conscious modification of the seated or standing position are important steps to prevent back problems from arising in the first place. Doctors say that we should spend no more than half of our working hours seated, a fourth standing, and another fourth moving about. Dynamic changes in our daily posture loosen muscles, ligaments, and spinal disks, and supply them with nutrients. A maximum of 30 minutes in one and the same position are more than enough. Our musculature loves diversity and needs it to stay relaxed.
So just use the telephone while standing up, prefer the stairs over the elevator, or give yourself and your muscles a few targeted stretching exercises occasionally.
Whether for prevention or relief of acute pain – physical exercise is the magic word when it comes to back problems. A healthy mix of endurance training and targeted strength exercise stabilizes all important muscle groups and ensures a strong back. Fitness studios and even health insurances now offer special back-care exercises and back-care training to dispel incorrect movement patterns and increase the fitness level of the musculoskeletal system in the right places.
Physical exercise is the best remedy even for acute pain. Limbering and stretching exercises are very important, especially when pain forces you into a seemingly pain-relieving posture, to resolve tension and activate muscles. Additional heat applications support this process and stimulate the blood flow and the metabolism, while extra rest and relaxation creates a counterpart to psychological stress. Relaxation techniques, yoga, or autogenic training can also contribute greatly to relieve the back and prevent the dreaded pain.