Oh, My Aching Back!
Maintaining a healthy back is vital to your overall health. As your own “information super highway” runs through your spinal cord—sending messages that affect every aspect of your health—you want to do everything possible to facilitate its proper function.
An ancient adage from Yoga states “You are as young as your spine is flexible.” We have all seen a younger person with back pain moving along like an octogenarian, or a supple senior citizen dancing as if she were still in her teens.
It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. As the most common cause of discomfort and disability for people under forty-five, it is also the main reason people miss work, second only to the common cold. Anyone who has had a serious bout with back pain knows how debilitating it can be.
Several things can precipitate back pain, among them tension, trauma or strain; improper sleeping positions; and sedentary lifestyles (lots of sitting, desk jobs, etc.). Pregnancy often is accompanied by back pain due to the added weight the mother-to-be carries in her lower abdomen. If you find your back starting to act up, being aware of potential problems and seeking to correct them is an excellent first step.
If your job requires you to sit at your desk a good part of the time, you may find quick relief in getting up frequently. An exercise regime including stretching, swimming, walking, or weight training also proves helpful in dealing with back pain.
In today’s bustling world, tension is often found to be the culprit. Whether brought about by stressful situations, poor posture, improper body alignment, etc., the result is the same. Certain muscles tense (the muscle fibers contract) and fail to relax properly. When this occurs in the back, it can begin to affect the body structurally, causing further problems.
Another typical source of back pain is muscle strain. When you overexert a back muscle, it can seize up in an effort to protect itself from further injury.
The good news is that most back pain can be prevented by keeping the muscles and joints supple and mobile, greatly aided through regular massage sessions. Through its stretching and relaxing strokes, massage is quite effective for restoring the normal range of motion and for easing muscle spasms. Sometimes a deeper massage is employed to release areas of chronic tension and to increase blood circulation to the area. Let’s work together to keep your back happy!