Though known to most of us but for some reason disregarded, I would like to share some tips that will help us keep our back injury free. Nevertheless, before we get into the preventive actions, let’s go over a basic review of the vertebral column.
Sections or Regions of the Vertebral Column
Although the number of each section may vary, overall we will find thirty-three vertebrae in the human body.
- Cervical spine-The neck- 7 vertebrae.
- Thoracic spine-The chest or thorax-12 vertebrae
- Lumbar Spine-Located between the lowest ribs and the hipbones -5 vertebrae
- Sacrum Bone– 5 vertebrae. located at the base of the spine (below the lumbar section) between the two hip bones. These 5 vertebrae fuse together between the ages of 18 and 30 to form triangular shape bone.
- Coccyx-Final segment of the vertebral column (usually referred as tailbone) made up of three or five small separate or fused vertebrae (3-5 vertebrae).
The first 24 vertebrae (cervical, thoracic and lumbar) are individual bones separated by intervertebral discs ((or intervertebral fibrocartilages) to allow slight movement.
Each of these 24 vertebrae has an opening or spinal canal which houses and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord runs from the base of the brain through the end of the lumbar area. Ligaments in the vertebral column, combined with the tendons and muscles, provide a natural brace to help protect the spine from Injury.
Accidents causing injury to any of the areas must be acknowledged, evaluated and treated by a professional as they may develop into a more serious condition, if ignored.
Tips for back injury prevention
- Good physical condition, in general, is important for preventing strains, sprains, and other injuries.
- Maintain good posture. Avoid leaning forward when you sit, or hunching over while standing.
- Avoid sitting or standing in the same posture for extended period.
- Avoid walking on wet/slippery grounds such as water, oil or ice but if you must walk on any of these areas (must common Ice or water during winter months) do it with extreme caution.
- Proper lifting technics. Such as positioning yourself close to the object and bending your knees instead of bending at the waist. This procedure will keep your spine in better alignment. Let your legs do the work.
- It is important to recognize your physical limitations and abilities. Many people have injured their back because they want to get things done and failed to ask for help. Use carts or the proper device to move objects, instead of carrying them yourself
- Avoid twisting while lifting or holding heavy items.
- Maintain healthy eating habits. Drink sufficient water, even during winter
- Take the necessary time to rest and sleep. Learn to relax. Tense muscles are more susceptible to strains and sprains.
This is an overview with the intention to give you awareness on back injury prevention.