Can you prevent, or avoid chronic pain?
After coping with chronic pain for more than 21 years I have come to realize that preventing chronic pain is a paradox, rather that of a question.
“If that Cybex Lat Pull Down machine didn’t break while I was using it at a Bally Matrix fitness center, then I would not have been injured……”
“If I wasn’t at a fitness center working out to improve my health, then I would not have sustained an injury resulting in chronic pain…..”
“If we hadn’t changed chairs at the start of that meeting, then I would not have fallen from a broken chair, causing further injury to my back…..”
It would be more appropriate to ask…..
Can you reduce the risk of chronic pain?
Yes. There are measures you can take to reduce the risk of chronic pain.
- Being in good physical condition helps prevent back pain.
- Strong core / lower back
- Flexibility: stretching, flexion exercises, yoga, tai chi
- Don’t smoke! Disc degeneration is more common in smokers than in non-smokers.
- Attend a “low back school” which teaches people basic anatomy and spine function, provides advice on exercise and activity, and helps you to recover some self confidence.
- Manipulation Therapy (chiropractic care) may help in certain situations.
- Proper posture & mechanical techniques should be standard practice whether or not a person is having pain / discomfort.
- Lifting heavy objects close to the body to reduce leverage & load on the back.
- Bend at the knees to lift objects and bringing them close to the body before standing to protect the lumbar spine.
- The motion of lifting should never entail twisting from one side to another; the lumbar spine tolerates twisting (torsional stress) very poorly.
- Maintaining your proper body weight; being overweight puts a strain on your back muscles.
There are important occupation or recreational causes of back pain:
- Operating heavy equipment (more than two hours a day).
- Athletes (professional and amateur) often eventually suffer from back pain.
- People who sit a lot are vulnerable.
- Constant sitting can cause muscles to weaken, which in turn can make people more prone to injury during strenuous activity (shoveling snow, raking leaves, gardening, and moving boxes).
- Poorly constructed chairs or work stations can themselves become an occupational hazard.
Some situations that provoke low back pain should be recognized:
- Off balance movements can cause back strain.
- Volently sneezing
- Pregnancy is often associated with low back pain due to shifting organs, loosening of ligaments prior to delivery, and the mechanical effect of weight carried further forward in the abdomen.
- The wearing proper shoes, sleeping on a supportive bed, and the use of a back support are simple things you can do to reduce the risk of chronic back pain.
While “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, I also believe mypainweb will help you reduce the risk of chronic pain.