The back bone is the body’s central support structure. It helps us to walk, twist, sit, and bend. It connects and links different sections of your musculoskeletal system. Back care is important has the back is an essential part of the body
BRIEF ANATOMY OF THE BACK
A healthy and normal spine has three natural structured curves that make an S-shape. The spine has 33 vertebrae that make up the spinal canal which protects the spinal cord and nerves from injury. These vertebrae are divided into 5 segments:
- Cervical vertebrae: The upper part of the spine which is situated around the neck has seven vertebrae (C1 to C7)
- Thoracic vertebrae: The chest or thoracic part of the spine has 12 vertebrae (T1 to T12)
- Lumbar vertebrae: Five vertebrae (L1 to L5)
- Sacrum: The five sacral vertebrae (S1 to S5) connect to the hip bones to form the pelvic girdle.
- Coccyx vertebrae: Have four fused vertebrae which make up the bottom of the spine.
With the help of spinal cartilages, vertebrae are able to slide against each other freely without friction. Also, there are flexible facet joints that help us to turn and twist without losing stability. These joints can develop arthritis and cause back pain or neck pain.
The spinal cord extends from the skull to the lower back and houses the 31 pairs of nerves that travel through the spinal canal. These nerves transmit information between the brain and muscles.
CARING FOR YOUR BACK (BACK CARE)
The following are ways to essentially care for the back
LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS ESSENTIAL FOR BACK CARE
These are tips that can help to prevent an occurrence or recurrence of acute back pain and also minimize the symptoms of chronic back pain:
- Maintain healthy weight. Losing some extra pounds of weight can provide relief from almost all types of back pain.
- Practice regular exercise: The muscles around the back provide support for the back. Consequently strengthening these muscles will provide better support for your spine.
- Practice safe bending and lifting techniques.
- Learn and practice how to maintain good posture and positioning.
- Wear good shoes with enhance arch support. Don’t wear high heels.
- Go for therapeutic massage. They help relax the back muscles
Before taking any drug, ensure you talk with your healthcare provider
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: most NSAIDs can be purchased over-the-counter. Examples include Paracetamol, ibuprofen, or naproxen. They are used to control pain. While taking these drugs, do not drive or operate heavy machines as they may cause drowsiness, and affect your coordination and reflexes.
Lumbar stretches will help relax muscle spasm;
- Start by lying flat on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the ground.
- Slowly raise your left knee to your chest. Ensure your lower back remains flat against the floor. Maintain this for 5 seconds.
- Relax: relaxation is a great back care technique
- Repeat again with your right knee
- You can do 10 rounds for each leg
SAFE LIFTING METHOD FOR BACK CARE
- Don’t ever bend over at the waist to take anything from the floor
- When trying to pick an object from the ground, ensure you bend your knees and hips in a squat.
- Ensure your head and back remain upright
- Hold the object in such a way that it is directly in front of you
- Rise back up by straightening your legs
When lowering an object to the ground, practice the above method in a reverse mode.
- When sitting, sit in a chair with straight back or low-back support. Ensure your feet are flat on the ground and your knees lower than your hips.
- When driving, ensure you sit up straight. If need be, put a small pillow below behind your lower back and adjust the seat forward, especially when travelling long distance.
- When standing for long periods, ensure that you’re not placing your entire weight on one leg for a very long period of time. Switch legs as often as possible
- When sleeping, don’t use hard pillows that bend your neck to a particular side. Use a firm mattress. The best way to sleep is on your side with your knees bent. Put a low pillow under your head to support your neck in a neutral spine position.