Back pain is the most common complaint among adults under 45 years of age. It can bring everything to a complete halt and interrupt your personal life and career.
Here is a quick look at the anatomy of the back.
Our body depends on the spinal column for structural stability and mobility. We twist, bend and flex with the help of spinal column. The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae, 7 in the neck (the cervical vertebrae), 12 in the thorax (the thoracic vertebrae), 5 in the lower back (the lumbar vertebrae). The sacrum, located just below the lumbar vertebrae, consists of 5 fused vertebrae. The tailbone, or coccyx, with its 3 to 5 fused vertebrae, lies just beneath the sacrum.
These vertebrae are placed one on top of the other from skull to pelvis. Spongy discs separate the vertebrae. The spinal column is tightly wrapped by muscles and ligaments. The spinal cord is enclosed within the vertebral canal which is formed by the alignment of vertebrae. Ligaments and tendons hold the bones and muscles together.
Watch the lower back video or the upper back video to see 3D animation of how your back works and an explanation of the triggers that can cause you back pain and grief.
Tips for computer users to avoid back pain
- Select a correct chair, with a relatively straight back and good lower back support. If the chair doesn’t offer lower back support, use a rolled up towel or cushion to support the back.
- Correctly position the chair, keyboard, and monitor. Feet should be on the floor, with knees at hip level; forearms should form a right angle with upper arms; and the monitor should be at eye level.
- Adopt a relaxed, upright working posture and allow the chair to support your back.
- Avoid slouching forward or leaning back too far.
- Stand up, walk around, stretch forward, backward, and side to side once every 30 minutes. Increased stress and strain increases the chances of back pain. So remember to relax.
- Check out the Stretch for Life Posture Zone for a video presentation of good workplace and postural habits.
- Eat healthy food which is rich in fiber.
- Avoid sweets, oil, soft drinks and overeating to reduce the chances of weight gain.