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From: Hindustan Times

Avi, a well known orthodontist, had a long list of patients. He spent hours each day, bending over and working on their teeth. At the end of one long and tiring day, Avi finished working on his last patient and then, he just could not stand up straight. His back went into a spasm and he had to be rushed to a nearby clinic and was diagnosed was a herniated disc or slipped disc.

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These days, back pain seems to have become a global epidemic. Rough estimates reveal that 80 per cent of the global population will suffer from back pain at least once in their lifetime. A sedentary lifestyle where we end up sitting though the day in a posture that is unfriendly back, is supposed to be the leading cause for this upsurge in low back pain.

Also, as more and more people are hitting the gym to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, the incidents of low back pain seem to be going up. This is the direct result of doing exercises, which may not be suited to their bodies, using incorrect form or doing too much, too soon.

The root cause

The biggest cause of low back pain appears to be a sedentary lifestyle – long hours of sitting coupled with little or no exercise. Let’s look at the structure of the back. The backbone, or the vertebral column, comprises multiple small bones, vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other with small disc-like structures in between.

This makes the backbone very flexible – letting us run, jump, dance and lift heavy weights. But most workstations, office chairs and couches promote a posture where the lower back flexes or bends away from its natural curve. This puts pressure on the disc, which can move or herniate and press on the nerves. This results in low-back pain, stiffness and sometimes pain down the leg, radiculopathy.

How to find relief

· Avoid sitting for too long. Try and take short breaks at regular intervals.

· Your posture while sitting is important. So, get an office chair with a lumbar support and maintain the normal curve of the back.

· Learn to hinge from the hips, while sitting down or picking up stuff from the floor, using the powerful muscles of the butt rather than loading the lower back.

· After a full day of sitting, relax your spine by doing the Cobra asana.

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· Stay away from sit-ups and crunches for training the abdominal muscles.

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· Strengthen the core. Front plank and side plank. You should be able to hold the Front Plank for 90 seconds and Side Plank for 60 seconds each side.

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· If you train in the gym, learn the appropriate form of each exercise. Hurting yourself in the gym is fairly easy if the weight is moderately heavy and the exercise technique is off.

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But it is a good idea to consult your doctor if you have back pain or pain, which goes down the leg, along with fever, weight loss etc. Developing good posture should work as a good preventive against all kinds of aches and pains.

A strength and conditioning coach for the last 15 years, Kamal Singh, CSCS, specialises in post rehabilitation training and functional training.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the author's own and MSN does not endorse them in any way. Neither can MSN independently verify any claims made in the article. You should consult your physician before starting any weight loss or health management programme to determine if it is right for your needs.

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