We leiden steeds meer een zittend en stressvol bestaan. Dit veroorzaakt spanning in het lichaam die zich ophoopt in de rug. Wat kunnen we doen om de rug te ontlasten en lumbago, de ‘ziekte van de eeuw’, te voorkomen?
Lumbago is slechts een symptoom waarvan de oorzaken zeer verschillend kunnen zijn. Er dient eerst aanvullend onderzoek te worden gedaan om organische oorzaken uit te sluiten.
De meest voorkomende vorm van lumbago is de gewone lumbago of lage rugpijn. Dit is niet ernstig, maar kan zeer onprettig zijn.
The risk or aggravating factors
The risk or aggravating factors are:
A sedentary lifestyle or conversely overtraining,
Poor postures at work or during physical activity,
Wearing high-heeled shoes,
Continued periods of stress: an unsatisfactory situation at work contributes to the onset of pain, as stress increases muscle tension in the back,
Depression, which may be both a cause and a consequence of chronic back pain.
There are several techniques which may be used to reduce muscle tension in the back, thereby relieving lower back pain: they mainly involve adopting the following good postures, during everyday activities.
Reducing muscle tension in the back when in front of a computer
Screen height and distance: The top of the screen should be at eye level, at around 70 cm from the user (if you wear progressive lenses, the screen should be lowered more).
Position of thighs: Adjust the tilt and height of your chair, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are on the floor.
Position of the lower back: Your lower back must be well supported. The seatback height must be adjusted so that it fills the lumbar curve (the small of your back). The angle between your thighs and torso must be between 90° and 110°.
Armrests: These must be positioned in terms of height and width so that your forearms are supported when your shoulders are relaxed.
Elbow angle: Your elbows must be at approximately the same height as the keyboard. An angle of around 90° is appropriate for your elbows.
Wrists in a neutral position: Your hand must extend from your forearm in a straight line.
Suitable lighting: Reduce glare as much as possible. Place your workstation perpendicular to windows and avoid having your desk directly under a light. You can also use an anti-glare filter.
Reducing muscle tension in the back when traveling by car
For the driver
The three rear-view mirrors must be properly adjusted to avoid twisting your neck.
The seatback must be straight or tilted to a comfortable position, but the head, back and pelvis must be aligned.
The headrest must only be used as a safety feature: it must not push the head forward.
The seatback may be tilted to a greater angle than for the driver.
A neck support is useful for long journeys to support your head.
Reducing muscle tension in the back when picking up and carrying heavy objects
When picking up an object off the ground
Place your feet either side of the object, bend your knees, push your buttocks out and keep your back straight.
Distribute the weight as much as possible over both sides of the body.
When carrying a backpack or school bag
Carry it quite high and very close to your back.
Slip on the straps by placing the bag on a table, bending your knees and pushing your buttocks out to keep your back straight.
7 simple exercises to stretch/relax and strengthen your back
To be effective, these exercises must be done regularly (at least three times a week). They should not cause pain but a simple sensation of stretching. However, they do not replace light physical activity such as swimming, walking on level ground or using an exercise bike (with a straight back).
Exercice 1 Back against the wall, feet together slightly away from the wall, try to stretch upwards as much as possible, lifting your arms and pushing the top of your head upwards while keeping your heels on the floor. Hold the position for 7 seconds then relax for 7 seconds.
Exercice 2 Lying on your back with your arms open to either side, turn your head to the right, take your bent right knee in your left hand and push it toward the floor to the left. Hold the position for 7 seconds then return to the starting position. Alternate with the opposite side.
Exercice 3 Standing with your back straight, hands on hips and one leg straight on a low bench or step, lean forward keeping your back straight, lifting the tip of your foot. Hold the position for 7 seconds then relax for 7 seconds.
Exercice 4 Sitting on one buttock on the edge of a chair, take your free leg and bring the heel towards your buttock, keeping your back straight. Keep going until you can feel the stretch in front of your thigh. Hold the position for 7 seconds and repeat 5 times before changing sides.
Exercice 5 Standing up against a wall, gradually slide down the wall, slowly moving your feet away from the wall. Your performance should get better regularly. Hold the position for as long as possible, breathing calmly.
Exercice 6 Lying on your front on the floor, hands on buttocks, lift your legs and head as high as possible without moving your hands. Hold the position for 7 seconds then relax for 7 seconds.
Exercice 7 End with a relaxation exercise, emptying your mind of all thoughts: lying on your back, with your back totally touching the floor, rest your calf muscles on a chair with your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head. Remain in this position for at least 3 minutes.
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