1. For men: Don’t sit on your wallet! When you put your wallet in your back pocket, that’s what you’re doing. That makes you sitting in a unbalanced posture, adding to back discomfort. This is a common complaint of truckers and sales reps. A helpful hint for those of you who travel a lot by car: put your wallet in your front pocket or in your briefcase.
For women: Stop being Quasimodo! Don’t carry a massive purse on your shoulder. If you need to bring a lot of items to your work location, try using a wheeled cart. My sister-in-law and several of her fellow community college teachers do this when they have to move from from campus to campus.
2. Lift with your knees – not your back. And hold what you’re lifting close to you. Why? lifting with the knees means you’re not lifting with your back. And keeping the item close to you helps because the difficulty in lifting increases exponentially the farther away the item is. Remember, for every six inches it’s held away from your body, its weight increases by ten pounds. Closer = easier.
3. Avoid having the pain. What’s better than stopping back pain? Not having it in the first place. One way to prevent back pain is before you begin any strenuous activity such as exercising or gardening – stretch first! Suggested stretches are: Hamstring Bird Dog, and Partial Crunches.
Today’s Spotlighted Exercise: Partial crunches: they strengthen your core. Lie on the floor with your knees bent, and with your hands behind your head or crossed over your chest, tighten your stomach muscles and lift only your shoulders. Remember, don’t pull with your head, crunch your abs instead.
Next week’s Therapy Thursday’s focus: computing ergonomics.