Poor posture, lack of exercise and excess weight may be the biggest enemy of our waist. Our waist carries the weight of our upper body and keeps it in balance. The lower back pain mostly emerges as a result of misusing our back. In the developed countries this disease which ranks second among the diseases leading to loss of working days can occur at any stage of life by the 80% of the population.
Özel Bodrum Hospital Neurosurgeon Assoc. Dr. Murat Taşkın has provided the recommendations on how to protect our waist in daily life:
While sitting: Use an ergonomic chair which provides upright sitting with knees positioning above the hips. Especially in the workplace never sit hunched, leaning forward for a long time. Sitting without back rest puts much more weight to the spine. By pulling the hips a little forward and leaning your back to the back rest you provide that the burden carried by your low back is shared with the chair. Don’t sit too long in the same position. Once an hour, albeit briefly stand up and do any stretching exercises or simply take a few steps, a little stroll in the room. Especially men should not carry any hard objects like wallet etc. in the back pockets of the trousers while sitting as it may cause pressure on the sciatic nerve.
While standing: Try to keep your back straight. While working in a standing position use a footstool to relieve the load while bending from the waist. Lean forward by bending your knees. For women, wearing mid-height heels puts less burden to the lower back than wearing flat shoes. Wearing high-heeled shoes leads to an increase in curvature in the lower back. If you stay standing for a long time wear shoes with good ergonomics.
In the lying position: Your bed shouldn’t be too soft. Beds of medium hardness should be preferred. Avoid lying prone since your lower back arch will increase and this may cause pain. While lying on the back you can put a pillow under your knees. While lying on the side bend your knees and hips.
When lifting weight: Don’t lift a heavy burden from the floor or table in an uncontrolled manner. Do not rush. Never try to lift more than you can without being assisted and supported. Lift the burden in a safe manner: Bend your knees, keeping the load close to your body to get use of your leg muscles. If possible, split the burden in two parts so the load is shared by both hands. Do not lift heavy objects upwards from the waist level.
In the workplace: The work bag used daily shouldn’t be heavy. Be aware of not carrying the bag always on the same side. Simple and effective neck and waist exercises done at the workplace are the most effective method of protecting your spine. Put your computer and keyboard to the right place: the computer monitor should be on your opposite. Your eye-level should match the upper-intermediate part of your computer screen. The keyboard should be placed in front of you on your elbow level.
Exercises for low back pain: Five minutes of exercise every day is better than a half an hour once a week. Don’t do exercises while having pain in the lower back but start exercising when the pain is over. Pay attention to the exercise order and start moving slowly and carefully. Repeat each exercise 2-3 times with intervals of about 15 seconds. Light discomfort lasting several minutes after exercise is normal. However, if severe discomfort lasts longer than 15-20 minutes you should consult a doctor before continuing exercising. Exercise on flat and hard surfaces. Put attention on relaxing your whole body between repeats and movements and rest if you are tired.
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