To your health: avoiding low back pain May 27, 2019
Prof. dr. Lotte JANSSENS
‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but there is only so much an apple can do. That is why we at inSCIght UHasselt are going to provide you with some scientific health tips. And who better to provide us all with these insights than our new healthy Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences. This post: how to avoid low back pain.
TIP 1: IT’S ALL ABOUT SWITCHING POSITIONS
Prof. dr. Lotte Janssens researches low back pain (see our earlier inSCIde the spotlight post) to discover more about her research) and is giving us tips to prevent low back pain. “You seldom get low back pain solely as a consequence of a bad posture, an unfit desk chair, or a heavy laptop bag”, Lotte explains. “It’s best to change your posture as often as possible. Feel free to hang in your office chair for a moment as if you were lying on your sofa. Even putting your feet into the air can feel nice. Also, force yourself to stand up more frequently by, for example, putting your bin at the other end of the office or organize your meetings in upright standing. This will also ensure that everyone will stay awake!”
TIP 2: DON’T BE AFRAID TO FLEX, EXTEND OR TURN YOUR BACK
Even if your low back pain was caused by bending over to pick up something or while trying to lift a heavy object, it is best not to avoid these acts. “On the contrary”, Lotte tells us. “Have faith in your body and try to pick up your normal life as soon as possible after a short break. Compare it to having knee pain, in case you will stop running for a period of two weeks, but will then afterwards slowly and gradually build up again. According to research, the best thing to do when having low back pain is to go back to work as quickly as possible. However, I should note that it is highly recommended to let you guide by a specialized physiotherapist.”
TIP 3: THE BEST TYPE OF ACTIVITY IS THE ONE YOU LOVE TO DO
The best way to prevent low back pain is leading an active life. “There is no type of sport better or worse to prevent this condition. Walking, running, cycling, yoga or swimming are all as effective when it comes to preventing back pain. And don’t be afraid of getting back pain because you run on a hard ground. So in the end, you have to choose something that you like doing and isn’t too expensive or far away from your home. Actually, why not do it at your work with some colleagues? There are many UHasselt colleagues who go for a walk or run during their lunchbreak. There are some amazing routes on and surrounding our university campuses and perhaps also where you work. Or maybe your employer provides activities?
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that back pain is all too often hunted down using scans? Even when you have a very bad case of acute back pain, a scan is rarely the right tool. A multidisciplinary approach is much better.
Did you know that stress and the feeling of not being in control of your job or life is often a stimulation for developing back pain? Try to keep this in mind when suffering from back pain.
Did you know that it’s not a bad thing when your muscles feel sore after exercising? This doesn’t mean that you hurt or ‘damaged’ your body or back. It only indicates that your body isn’t used yet to this activity. That only means one thing: time for action!