Your back, by virtue of its location in your body, is an important part of your core support system. The spine is the bony center of the back, to which many ribs and muscles are attached. When your back is injured, your entire body is affected and grave consequences can result. From the vertebrae within the spine to the muscles of the lower back, every part of your back is susceptible to uncomfortable and sometimes life-altering symptoms.
It is estimated that as many as 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their life, including minor muscle strains to more severe dislocations. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for Americans to miss work, and these same Americans will spend approximately $50 billion each year in search of relief. While treatments can be as inexpensive as heating pads or over-the-counter muscle relaxers, more serious sufferers may spend much more on regular chiropractor visits or expensive, intrusive back surgery.
Some of the symptoms of back pain include:
- A stiff, achy feeling centered anywhere along the neck or back.
- Sharp pains along the neck or back that occur after heavy lifting or rigorous activity.
- Radiating pain from the neck to the buttocks following long periods of standing or sitting.
- Muscle spasms in the neck or back.
Sciatica is another type of back pain that is caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve, a long nerve that extends from the lower back to the bottom of each leg. Symptoms of sciatica can include:
- Pain in the legs or buttocks that gets worse in the seated position.
- Burning or tingling sensations in the legs.
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet.
- Persistent pain on one side of the buttocks.
- Shooting pain when standing up.
Aside from irritated nerves, back pain can result from a number of different scenarios, including:
- Mechanical problems: These are back problems that relate to the way a person moves or uses their back. Over time, the cartilage within the spin can wear down, causing a mechanical problem of old age. Other times, muscle spasms or tension can limit the usability of the back, causing pain or discomfort in the process.
- Injuries: Back injuries such as sprains, fractures and herniated disks can cause persistent pain in the back and supporting areas.
- Diseases: Sometimes people acquire diseases that affect the condition of the back, such as scoliosis, arthritis, osteoperosis, spinal stenosis and many others.
- Pregnancy: The rapid changes to a woman’s body, combined with the additional weight and strain of a growing fetus, can cause prolonged back pain in women.
- Obesity: Extra fat adds weight to the body, which can put pressure and strain on the back.
In general, back pain does not require medical attention, though doctors may be able to provide information for medications and equipment that can provide relief. Left untreated, persistent back pain can cause insomnia, lost productivity and, at worst, leave more serious conditions undetected.
Since back pain can affect every aspect of life, it’s worthwhile to take steps to prevent it from occurring in the first place. There are no sure-fire ways to keep from ever having back pain, but there are steps you can take to make it less likely from occurring, such as:
- Strengthening Exercises: When the muscles in the back are strong, they are better able to protect the spine from injury. Core-strengthening exercises such as crunches, sit-ups and back extensions can be effective, when done incorrectly. Stretching can also help to keep the back muscles lumber and less prone to strain.
- Posture: Keeping a straight posture with the stomach pulled in and the head held straight can help prevent back pain during prolonged periods of standing.
- Sitting: Swiveling chairs and seats with lower back support help to avoid stressing the lower back, and adjustable height helps to keep the rest of the body comfortably positioned to support itself.
- Sleeping: When it comes to mattresses, there’s never been a right answer for soft vs. hard mattresses. Choose a mattress that is comfortable to you. If you feel your mattress is causing back pain, experiment with making it harder or softer.
- Lifting and Carrying: A common cause of back pain, lifting and carrying heavy objects without using the proper techniques can result in injury or complications.
The causes for back pain can occur almost anywhere, and the home offers plenty of opportunities for incurring them. People often lift groceries, laundry and other heavy items as a part of their daily chores. While it’s nearly impossible to avoid these activities of daily life, there are things you can buy to limit the amount of strain they put on your back. One such item is the Winnie Wagon.
Winnie Wagons are small, cage-like carts with long handles and low wheels. They can be used to carry groceries back from the store, transport items from a car to a home, take laundry to the Laundromat, take trash bags to the curb and accommodate a wide variety of other small-scale transportation needs. Winnie Wagons are especially useful for the elderly or people whose strength is diminishing, or to simply help prevent back pain during regular activities. The Winnie Wagon Cart is available online at Vitality Medical.
The Winnie Wagan Cart features durable steel construction, large rubber casters for easily handling over all kinds of terrain and a folding design for easy storage in a closet or storage bin. Its affordable price makes it a worthwhile investment in convenience and continued back health. Other medical devices that help reduce back stress are available at Vitality Medical and can be found at Daily Living Aids and Back Support.
Back pain is common amongst Americans, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Some easy preventive measures, such as an investment in a Winnie Wagon, can help save your back from needless strain in daily life. Though medications and equipment are available for those who choose not to take preventive measures, it’s much more difficult to make up for loss of productivity and missing out on activities with your friends and families. Make prevention a part of back pain management, and you’ll find yourself healthier and happier in the long run.
WebMD – What Is Back Pain?
American Chiropractic Association – Back Pain Facts & Statistics