Gaining weight will hurt your back. Gaining weight during the holidays will cause back pain next year. Those extra pounds do not come off easily, either: it takes 60% of the people surveyed up to 10 months to lose their holiday weight. Nearly 13% of people surveyed said they simply give up on losing the weight after February. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine agrees: most people ca not shake their holiday weight until the next fall–just in time for the Halloween candy.
If you are overweight, your spine may be overworked as it tries to carry that extra weight. Gaining extra weight means you are more likely to injure your back, which would make it nearly impossible to exercise enough to lose weight. This could then graduate into chronic back pain. Physician’s know that being overweight can lead to compression fractures, degenerative disc disease, and spondylolisthesis.
A medical term used to describe spinal arthritis is spondylosis. Spondylosis is a common condition that is estimated to account for 2% of all hospital admissions. Spondylosis is a common degenerative condition associated with aging and can affect the cervical (neck), thoracic (chest area), and lumbar (low back) spine.
The type of spondylosis that affects the facet joints in the spine is called osteoarthritis. Spinal osteoarthritis worsens with age and can cause loss of spinal structure and use.
With recent advancements in MRI technology, your doctor can use an MRI scan to detect spondylosis. The MRI will reveal the disc space between vertebrae. If the space narrows, you have spondylosis.
The medical term for cervical arthritis is cervical spondylosis. Progressive neck pain is a common symptom of spondylosis. With cervical spondylosis, the spinal canal may narrow causing compression of the spinal cord and nerves to the arms.
If the cervical spondylosis is severe, bed rest with traction on the neck may be needed. If you have cervical spondylosis, inflammation of your neck or upper back, and are in a great deal of pain, a cervical epidural block might be beneficial to relieve your pain.
If inflammation exists, anti-inflammatory drugs can be used for treatment. Massage may help to relieve pain.
Using Proper Body Mechanics to Avoid Back Pain
If I told you how to avoid back pain in the first place, would you be interested?
Exercise. The best cure for muscle oriented back pain is to gently use aerobic exercises to strengthen your back muscles.
Swimming is a good choice. Talk with your doctor about which activities are best for you.
Build muscle strength and flexibility. Back muscle exercises not only will strengthen your back, but they remind your back muscles how to relax. Flexibility in your hips and upper legs aligns your pelvic bones to improve how your back feels.
Lose weight. This is the biggest cause of back pain (second only to weak muscles). The more you weigh, the more strain that is put on your back muscles.
Use Good Posture
Stand smart. Maintain a neutral pelvic position. If you must stand for long periods of time, alternate placing your feet on a low footstool to take some of the load off your lower back.
Sit smart. Choose a seat with good lower back support, arm rests and a swivel base. Consider placing a pillow or rolled towel in the small of your back to maintain its normal curve. Keep your knees and hips level.
Lift correctly by moving straight up and down. Bend only at the knees, no with your back. Hold whatever you are lifting as close to your body as possible.
Sleep smart. People with back pain have commonly been told to use a firm mattress, but recent studies indicate that a medium-firm mattress might be better. Use pillows for support, but do not use a pillow that forces your neck up at a severe angle.