Back Health – Prevention Goes a Long Way

Back injuries can be draining both physically and financially.  Prevention is your best option.lower back pain - physical therapy

According to a recent 2008 study…

  • roughly 3.4 million emergency room department visits/year specifically for back problems at US hospitals. That’s 9,400/day!
  • $9.5 billion overall costs of inpatient stays due to back problems in US.
  • 9th most expensive condition treated in US.

While all back surgeries may not be avoidable, there are many things that you can do to decrease the risk of a debilitating back injury.

1) Reduce daily sitting time. Try to sit less than 6 hours/day. Sitting leads to tightness and weakness in your back. A weak, tight back is vulnerable to injury.

2) Get up out of your chair every 30 -40 minutes. Walk, stretch, stand up or just move around. Prolonged sitting puts undo stress on your back.

3) Participate in light to moderate exercise (walking, running, strength training, aerobics)  at least 3 times per week. Only 30% of the American population gets the recommended amount of physical activity. Our bodies are made to move to maintain our health.

4) Perform a consistent stretching/core strengthening routine at least 4 times per week. There are many types of activities and exercises that can help the back. Find the stretches and routines that work for you.  Flexibility and strength are the keys to a healthy back.

5) Take notice and seek medical advise the first time your “back goes out”. Early intervention is the key. Long term back problems often start out as “a little tweak” in the back that resolves in a day or two.  This pattern often repeats itself periodically, getting a little worse each time, until finally  “the straw that broke the camel’s back” episode, where significant damage has been done.  In most situations, if tended to early, back problems can be easily managed.

Here’s a great video to give you a few tips on how you can go about protecting your back.

For more ideas on how to promote a healthy back, contact us…..

– Rich Baudry, PT, DPT, OCS