And to add insult to injury, the Global Burden of Disease Study has now also declared lower back and neck pain to be Australia’s leading cause of ongoing disability and poor health. It ranked more highly than ischaemic heart disease (the leading cause of premature death in Australia) and depressive disorders.
How can this be true for such an active nation? Leading chiropractors agree it is seldom a single injury that causes back pain, or a misfortune of genetics. Instead back pain accumulates over years because of daily bad habits such as posture, bad training practices, sitting too much in front of a computer or – in many cases – sleeping on a mattress that’s not right for you body.
Specialists agree there are many things you can do to avoid back pain. We’ve picked the top ten:
1. Get more exercise
You may think rest is good for back pain but this may even increase the pain. Experts now believe regular physical activity can help ease inflammation and muscle tension.
2. Up Your Calcium and Vitamin D intake
Strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis. It’s one of the most common causes of back pain, particularly for women. Keep the bones in your spine strong by consuming plenty of calcium and vitamin D by drinking milk and yogurt, eating leafy greens, or taking vitamin supplements. Vitamin D sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver, and cheese.
3. Sleep right
A healthy night’s rest starts with your mattress. A K-4 Comfort Layer in your mattress, like the one typically found in scientifically designed Australian-made Koala mattresses supports the natural posture of your spine. This will help relieve any back, shoulder or neck problems. Also remember, all choices of firmness offered by the mattress industry are simply a gimmick. It’s a way to sell outdated, inflexible metal spring or latex mattresses.
The entire human population doesn’t fit into three categories of ‘firmness’. So Koala Mattresses have three layers to absorb the right amount of pressure from each body – regardless of your shape or size -wherever it’s needed. Read more about the world’s first zero-disturbance technology mattresses here: .
4. Watch your weight
Extra pounds, especially in your midsection, can make back pain worse by shifting your centre of gravity and putting strain on your lower back. Staying within 6 kilograms of your ideal weight will help control back pain.
5. If you smoke, stop
Smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are vulnerable to back pain.
6. Pay attention to your posture
The best chair for preventing back pain is one with a straight back or low-back support. Keep your knees a bit higher than your hips while seated.
7. Be careful how you lift
Don’t bend over from the waist to lift heavy objects. Bend your knees and squat, pulling in your stomach muscles and holding the object close to your body as you stand up. Don’t twist your body while lifting.
8. Avoid high heels (that’s for the ladies)
High heels can strain your lower back. Stick to a one-inch heel.
9. Stash the skinny jeans
Clothing so tight that it interferes with bending, sitting, or walking can aggravate back pain.
10. Pick the right handbag or briefcase
get a bag or briefcase with a wide, adjustable strap that’s long enough to reach over your head. Having the strap on the opposite shoulder of the bag distributes the weight more evenly and helps keep your shoulders even and your back pain-free.