Ouch initials 5th! You’ve barely lifted anything all day, but bending sends a jolt of pain up your back. Continuous painful aches in your back or legs could be signs of degenerative disc disease. When your discs lose their water content from the ravages of illness or age, they also lose their height, bringing your vertebrae closer together.
As a result, the nerve endings of your spine become narrower. When this happens, your discs aren’t well able to absorb shock from normal activities like walking, running and jumping. A poor posture and incorrect body movements could also weaken your discs and cause disc degeneration.
The most common basis for degenerative disc disease is due to the natural process of getting older. As you age, your intervertebral discs can lose their elasticity, flexibility and shock-absorbing characteristics. You may also get this disease if you’ve had an injury to your back.
The most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease are back and leg pain, as well as tingling or numbness in your legs and buttocks.
Sitting for long periods. Few of us have perfect posture when sitting and rather tend to sag down in our chairs. Swivel chairs develop a slight tilt to one side, placing strain on your back. Sit in the same skew chair every day, and back pressure is almost inevitable.
Being unfit and overweight. These conditions often happen together. The first means that your muscles lack the tone to support your spinal column. The second means that your big belly will pull your spine forward. Again, back pain will be a natural consequence. The solution? Lose weight and get fit. You don’t need to be Usain Bolt – just lose the extra inches around your gut and get your muscles toned up.
Doing a lot of heavy lifting. Many people who work with heavy weights are attuned to bending with a strained back when lifting. But there are office drones who put their backs out by picking up nothing heavier than a sheet of paper. It happens, and it’s painful as well as a bit embarrassing.
Being stressed. Any increase in stress increases muscle tension throughout your body, which means more chance of strain and pain.
Protect your back
- Avoid standing for long periods. If you stand for hours on end at work, place a stool by your feet and alternate resting your feet.
- Give high heels a miss when you can and wear shoes with cushioned soles while walking.
- If you have to sit all day at work, make sure that you have a straight chair with an adjustable seat, back and arms.
- Use a small pillow or rolled-up towel behind your lower back while sitting or driving for long periods.
- Always make sure that your knees are higher than your hips. You can use a stool for this.
- Do exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles. This will strengthen your core as well, which will make lifting things easier, with less strain on your back.