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Handbook for successful ageing - 4.


4. Handle your back carefully!

Make sure you are not overweight in order to avoid burdening the spine unnecessarily.

Smokers also suffer from intervertebral disc problems very often, as nicotine constricts the blood vessels and as a consequence disturbs the supply of the intervertebral discs.

Strengthen primarily your back musculature by doing the full body training (see above No. 3.3.2), especially by doing the exercises No. 4, 7, 8 a), 9a), 11b) 19 c and d). Increase this exercise faster and more than the others.

You shouldn´t do a hollow-back while standing, either. Instead you should put your feet apart from each other, at a distance of the width of your shoulders, bend your knees slightly and move your pelvis slightly forwards. If you have to stand for a long time, try to interrupt it by walking back and forth.

If possible, use comfortable armchairs and chairs. If you sit a lot in your job, design your workplace in a way that you don’t have to bend your head; stand, preferably, move your pelvis backwards and forwards and to the side in order to keep it flexible while making phone calls. At the same time you thereby relieve your intervertebral discs, on which your body puts stronger pressure when you sit than in a standing position, especially when you bend forwards without leaning yourself on something. Furthermore you prevent a leg vein thrombosis that way.

If the seat squab extends too far back for you taste, reduce your distance to the back by putting a pillow in between. If the back is adjustable, adjust it optimal to your body. Your feet should stand firmly on the ground and the knees should form a right angle. If a chair is too high or too low for you, use a foot step or respectively a pillow.

If you sit on a bench without back, likewise you should not do a hollow back. Maybe you want to bend forwards and rest your forearms on your thighs.

If you sit on the floor you should change your position every once in a while: place your arms behind you, shoulderwidth apart, fold them under your knees or bend slightly forwards.

If you have to do something on the floor or put something in a low drawer, bend your knees, keeping your torso straight, sit on your heels or kneel down. If you don’t have to look, let your torso hang loose.

If you have to carry something heavy, carry it as close to your body as possible. If you have to carry something in front of you, rest your elbows against the pelvis. Try to carry heavy shopping bags equally balanced on both sides. If you travel with heavy weight you should use a trolley or a backpack.

If you want to lift up a heavy thing, position yourself as close as possible to it, bend your knees, take it and stretch your knees again. If you want to put the thing down next to you or even behind you, do not turn your torso but turn (your whole body) around, respectively to the side.

If you have to bend over a washing basin, rest your thighs against it, rest your shin bones, your pelvis or your chest somewhere else, or support yourself with one hand whenever you only have to use one hand. Always look for something to hold on too! If you have to bend nevertheless for a longer time without a hold, you should at least be aware of the potential danger this presents for your back.

Adjust the tube of the vacuum cleaner to a reachable height for you, so that you don’t have to bend down.

Do your ironing, ff your ironing board is height-adjustable, in line with your pelvis, stand as close to the board as possible and put the laundry basket on a chair next to you.

Use appliances with a telescopic handle for gardening.

If you want to help a frail person out of the bed, use the edge of the bed as support for your shin bones, and when lifting only use the strength of your arms and the weight of your body, never the strength of your back. Other than that let a professional carer instruct your.

If possible reduce stress, since it leads to tension in your back.

Stop smoking because it can cause back pain.

If your back is aching, you should still move! Movement loosens up muscle tensions faster and the intervertebral discs are better supplied with nutrients. To avoid falling into a relieving posture, carefully take the medicine, which was prescribed by your doctor (see below 9.2, "pain-memory"). If it is acute, put a heating pad under your back, because warmth loosens tensions in your back, improves the blood circulation and calms irritated nerves. If the back pain persists, you should have your teeth checked carefully for infections, and examined if any root fillings go through to the tip of the root, since this alone can lead to back pain.

If you have to rub a runny ointment or lotion into your back, let it drop into one hand and put both hands together so that you can work with both hands.

Furthermore, you should read the chapter "The truth about chiropractic therapy" in Singh and Ernst’s book "Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine" (see below, end of 9.1) which is available as Daisy-CD for blind and visually impaired persons. You should make sure, however, that the chiropractor does not manipulate your cervical under any circumstances, as this may lead to a stroke.





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