Sifu's Training Insights

Your Backbone
Your Foundation for Fitness

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If you've ever had back pain, you're not unusual. Eighty percent of all adults have some back pain, but almost all of them are preventable.

Most people think a back injury is the result of a particular injury. The truth is most back problems are caused by years of abuse and neglect.

We hardly need to be reminded of the seriousness of back injuries. They can be very painful and sometimes irreversible. But you can take preventative measures to avoid back problems.

Exercise for a stronger back

Regular exercise strengthens back muscles. Toning your abdominal muscles and improving flexibility are the best ways to avoid back injuries.

With back pain there is no quick fix. Pain killers may take the pain away, but medication does not stop the cause of the pain. Pain sufferers should consult a health care professional. In severe cases physical therapy may be needed.

Sleeping positions can also affect the back. Sleeping on your side offers the least amount of stress. And too many pillows may put stress on the neck, which can result in back pain.

Your back and work

Working often causes back problems, especially if you work at a desk all day. Evaluate your work space. Check the height of your chair and desk. Chronic back problems can sometimes be alleviated by simply changing your environment. You should be able to sit comfortably and work at your desk without straining. Look for lower back support in your chair and a firm cushion on the seat. If you find your workspace inadequate then make some changes. You'll feel better and be more productive.

Stress can aggravate back problems. exercise reduces stress and in turn that will help your back. Also be sure to do some stretching to help you relax and get a good night's sleep which will help avoid back problems. Any extra weight you carry can contribute to back pain. Use good nutrition and exercise to avoid being overweight to help alleviate back pain or avoid future back problems.

More on healthy backs next time.