The Sunday Leader

Recurrent nonspecific backaches

This applies to situations, quit commonly found among active people, getting neck aches and lower backaches with no specific condition affecting the spine, confirmed by CT scans and other tests.

These aches are due to muscle sprains and ligament strains found on either side of the spine, and most days you experience a sudden crooked spine with aches on one side of your back. You could use the term ‘Lumbago’ for this condition.

Simplest remedy is when you have your morning shower, make the water as hot and comfortable as possible. Whilst the hot water is hitting your back, bend down slowly and touch your toes a few times. Then, do a side bend to the right and then to the left. Do other movements to improve the mobility of the spine, a few times.

This alone may temporise your back problem for the rest of your day.

Sitting with your neck bent forward, or hunched as we call it, facing your computer can give you a neck-ache. This posture tends to flatten the natural curve of your spine and damage the cushioning discs between vertebrae and cause early arthritis.

Keep your PC screen at eye level; straighten your back whilst being seated. Gently stretch and move your head a few times to prevent strains, at regular intervals.

Some blame the mattress for a crooked spine. The ideal mattress should be firm, and if the springs of your bed are worn out, sleeping on the mattress on the floor would be the answer.

If you are a back sleeper inserting a rolled towel under your knees will keep the natural curve of your back, and this may prevent the back ache.

Do not sleep on your belly if you have a back problem. In any case it would bring back the ache if you sleep in this position.

Side sleeping would be the best position to sleep if you have a backache. Placing a pillow between your thighs would release the pressure on your hips and also relax your spine.

Exercising is very important whilst you have a backache. I find going on a treadmill at slow speed gives instant relief. Other low impact exercises like walking, biking and swimming strengthen your stomach and spine muscles which protect your discs in your spine.

You will notice that when get up from the seated position after sitting for a long time may experience backache. Just a bit of walking gives instant relief.

If you suffer from this malady, do not overeat and put on pounds. Extra pounds strain your bones and muscles of your back. Protruding belly due to overeating can hurt the lumbar spine very badly. Those who use backpacks should not overload them. Your child’s backpack should not weigh more than 20% of their body weight.

Ladies wearing very high heels can strain their calf muscles, Achilles tendons and indirectly their lower spine. On returning home after work and removing high heels and getting into slippers may exacerbate the aches.

Doing slow yoga movements can help relieve low back pain. Over-doing it may hurt your back muscles. Local spraying of anti-inflammatory sprays like voltaren seems to give temporary relief.

Certain spinal exercises done daily after a hot shower would be another way of getting relief. Any physiotherapist will demonstrate those exercises.

The author experiences lot of back pain after sitting in front of the computer long hours, and that has inspired him to write this brief article.

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