Back care includes all the things that you can do for your back to prevent a back injury or back pain, heal from an injury that has occurred, and prevent flare-ups of back pain in the future. Back care starts with your posture and the techniques that you use to sit at your desk, perform your work responsibilities, and do chores around the house. Any medical or non-medical types of back care you use to protect your back if you aren't using proper posture and you are putting constant strain on the ligaments and other soft tissues of your back. A back care program may also include a variety of exercises that are designed to strengthen and maintain your entire body. Some exercises may be geared to promoting your health and general fitness. Some exercises may be geared towards strengthening the muscles of your back and abdomen that attach to the spine, and are responsible for movement and support of the spine. If the muscle groups that move the spine and hold it in position are weak or unbalanced, the spine may be tilted in one direction, which can cause an abnormal curvature or damage to the intervertebral discs.
A back care program will involve the proper treatment of an injury, whether or not the cause of back pain or lower back pain is known. If the doctors does not know what the cause of the back pain is, he or she may perform a physical examination. After the physical examination, the doctor will typically order an X-Rays, which tells some information about the spine. X-rays are good at showing the vertebral bones of the spine, the curvature of the spine, and the whether the spinal bones are properly spaced apart. If there is very little space between the vertebral bones, it is evidence of degenerative disc disease. Other diagnostic tests designed to find the cause of back pain include CT Scans (Computed Tomography), Ultrasound, and Dynamic Radiographic Computerized Analysis.
Once the cause of the patient's back pain has been identified and the patient has been successfully treated, to the point that severity of symptoms has diminished significantly, they will want to commit to long-term back care. A back care program will include a lifestyle and work style of proper ergonomics at work and home, a good diet, exercise program, and specific exercises to keep the core muscles strong. Many places offer back school and other back education program to make people understand the anatomy of the back, how, it works, and how to keep it healthy. A back school program educates people on the most common things people do to cause strain to their backs, and the correct way to lift objects and perform daily activities so that you don't strain your back again. Many formal and informal programs are offered at hospitals, community colleges, and community centers to people of all ages and activity levels.
Back Care Basics: Beyond the medical treatments and physical therapy options available to manage back pain, here are some good back care basics for all people to live by.
- You should commit to a program that focuses on flexibility and strengthening of the muscles that support your back 2 or three times a week.
- Sit and stand straight at all times, especially at workstations.
- Avoid lifting objects heavy enough to cause strain to your back. If work/home responsibilities require lifting of heavy objects, lift with your legs and keep your back straight.
- If you are obese or overweight, try to commit to a weight loss program to take strain off of your lower back.