As blokes we are all guilty of just wanting to get the job done and sometimes throw our bodies on the line without ever considering possible consequences. We see this with both young and old blokes alike, and injuring our back is one possible consequence. In fact, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare suggest that 70% – 90% of the population will experience lower back pain in some form during their life.
Back problems can be caused by a multitude of factors ranging from: a pre-existing issue or weakness we may have from childhood; wear and tear caused by the physically demanding jobs blokes undertake; or just a fact of life due to our modern day sedentary lifestyle (eg. hours sitting in trucks/tractors, office chairs and on the couch). There are also those situations where we push ourselves that bit too hard or things just go pear shaped. It’s important to recognise that our back is a precious commodity, just ask anyone who has suffered a back injury resulting in chronic pain… it can be debilitating!
A neglectful attitude is something else a lot of blokes are guilty of and this attitude can exacerbate many health conditions. This is a common attitude that underpins the often unspoken but hardwired attitude that “I am a warrior” and “it will not happen to me”. How many times have you heard a bloke experiencing pain say, “she’ll be right, I’ll see how it goes?” and puts up with his issue for weeks, months, and even years. If we’re lucky we do 5 minutes of stretching and remember to sit up straight for the rest of the day, but that’s about as far as it goes.
Proper back care should be part of our regular routine and there are simple steps we can take that will not only decrease the chances of back problems but also benefit our overall wellbeing, such as:
Exercise and stretching; the better shape our body is in with a good range of movement decreases the risk of putting our back under unwanted pressure. Try some yoga!
Proper Posture; whether it’s sitting in a tractor, behind a desk or with our feet up enjoying Saturday arvo footy, our body is not designed to be in a seated position for extended periods. Get up and stretch out as often as possible and make sure we don’t slouch or slump in our chairs. Place a rolled-up towel behind the lower back for good lumbar support.
Bulging Belly; we can’t all have a raging six pack like some of the pin up boys out there but losing a few kg’s off the guts and increasing strength around our core muscles, especially our pelvic floor, takes unwanted pressure off our lower back.
Lifting Logically; we need to bend our knees, keep our back straight, and keep the load centered to our body. Also, when we are helping our mate lift those heavy loads or rearranging furniture for the wife remember Prior Planning and Communication Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
If back pain is not resolving itself with some of these basic back care tips always consult your GP or book in to see a physiotherapist for more specific treatment and back care exercises.
Terry and the Team
The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277