I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends - it's the time of the year that provides an excellent opportunity for you to relax (yeah, right), which gives your body the nece...
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends – it’s the time of the year that provides an excellent opportunity for you to relax (yeah, right), which gives your body the necessary rest it needs.
But now we’re into the new year, and you’re no doubt running hard back behind the wheel.
Last month I told you about the different causes and sources of back pain – now let’s take a look at preventing it.
This month, I’ll give you a couple of health tips you can use in your daily routine.
Following them will help you avoid back pain and keep you on the road pain free.
Sleep eight hours
to be your best
But before I get to that, I want to remind you again about something I have already mentioned that is very important to your health: rest and sleep.
Did you know that the average adult needs a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night to be able to function properly?
It has been shown that people with less than eight hours of sleep are less alert, more irritable, and cannot concentrate at their optimum level.
Sleep is one of the only times during which your body can focus on healing and repairing itself.
If you deprive yourself of sleep, you limit your body’s ability to function efficiently.
Muscles – stretch
Most injuries involve muscles that are tight and/or weak. When muscles are stiff, they affect the motion of the joints in your back.
When these joints become inflamed due to improper alignment, the muscles go into spasm (the uncomfortable experience of a very tight muscle) in order to protect the joint.
The result is a decrease in joint mobility, which will cause you pain.
So what do we do to prevent these types of injuries?
We make sure that our muscles are both strong and flexible.
To prevent your back muscles from getting “stiff,” take five minutes out of your day and do some stretches.
An easy and very effective stretch to do, is to lie on your back, pull your knees to your chest, and hold for 20 seconds.
Repeat this twice a day. Doing this stretch, you will see a marked improvement in your flexibility, which will reduce your risk of having back problems.
The muscles of your back are also being used to stabilize your spine. These muscles are responsible for keeping you in the upright position.These muscles are constantly being worked, and if they are not strong, they will “give out” on you.
To strengthen your back, try the following.
Pretend you are Superman flying (I know, you’re wondering if you read that right).
Yes, that’s right. Lay down on the floor, with your arms stretched out in front of you like the “man of steel.”
Once you are in this position, lift your arm with the opposite leg (ie: right arm with left leg) off the ground about two to three inches, and hold for three to five seconds.
Repeat this exercise on the opposite side (five times per side), and do this exercise at least once a day.
As your back gets stronger, it will become easier to do.
Warm up and lift properly
Finally, a mistake that many of us tend to make, is to start lifting and doing activity when our muscles are not properly warmed up.
When muscles are cold, they tend to tighten up and not stretch properly.
If you start working them without any type of warm up, there is an increased chance that you can injure them. Before, lifting, bending, carrying and such, walk around your truck two or three times quickly to get the blood moving.
People may think you are crazy, but at least your muscles will be warm, and less likely to be injured. Also, remember to use proper lifting techniques when bending, twisting and carrying things. A sudden twist or turn can leave you on your back and out of commission for several days.
These are things that you can do on a daily basis that will help prevent you from having back problems. It is also important to make sure that all your joints in your back are moving properly.
Restriction in the joints can lead to nerve irritation, which will in turn lead to back pain. Proper alignment of your spine will not only help ensure that your back will last a lifetime, but it will also help you be pain free.
Remember that everything you do, the choices that you make on a daily basis, will directly affect your health. The little things that you do may not seem like much. In the long run, however, you will see and feel a difference, and will be amazed at how good your back feels.
– Dr. Jerry Singh, B. Kin., D.C., runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at 1 888 252-7327, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.