"Oh, my aching back!" How many times have we heard this? Maybe we've uttered these words many times ourselves. According to researchers - sometime during the course of life, an estimated whopping 80% of people will develop back pain! Back problems are responsible for more sick days than the common cold, or flu, and according to health reports, the common cause of doctor visits in this country.

Why are backs so troublesome?
Aside from the rare inherited abnormality or damage caused by accidental injury, the fault
sometimes lies with posture. Our amazing spine is a masterpiece of structural engineering,
though it has weak spots - most notably the lower back or lumbar-sacral area, where the spinal "s" terminates in 5 fused vertebrae. Research has shown that women are more prone to lower back problems, especially due to the stresses of childbearing. And how many women do you know personally, who carry a purse filled with "perceived" essentials that can make a purse, feel more like a suitcase? (This can wreck havoc on a woman's back). And men; when you lift heavy items, do you bend over; putting all the stress on our lower back?

If you’re like some, work consists of walking or standing all day. This can add stress to the back — especially the lower back. Standing at work needn’t be stressful to the back as long as we’re wearing the right accessory — namely the right kind of shoes! The shoes we wear can aggravate an existing back problem; or it can definitely cause one. Shoes should have low or flat heels because high heels tend to throw the body’s center of gravity forward — increasing the lower back curvature and bringing added force to bear to the lumbar region. Whenever you stand, try to maintain a flat back.

What about sitting?
Prolonged sitting is very bad for your back, but there are techniques that can help. Always try to maintain the pelvic tilt, by sitting forward and elevating your knees higher than your hips with a footstool. A low chair with a straight back; and a foot rest is ideal for your back.

How can Massage Therapy help?
Many back specialists believe that a significant percentage of back pain is tension produced.
Therefore it seems appropriate to look into various relaxation techniques — including massage therapy. This will reduce muscle tightness and relieve muscular tension.

Find the Right Sleeping Position
Ones that suffer from lower back pain should sleep like children; either on there backs with knees raised, or curled into a semi-flat position on their sides. Lying face down or lying on your back with your legs extended is bad for your lower back. A pillow can be used to help relieve pressure on the spine. While lying in the fetal position, place a pillow between your knees to ease tension on the lower back muscles.

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