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Should I squat when I have lower back pain?

In everyday life, in order to take care of one’s back, one must look for the comforting position in all circumstances, and avoid the attitudes and gestures that attack the spinal column that we constantly mistreat.

This article will describe the main situations, emphasizing the “good” positions that save and protect the column.

The sitting position

How and where to sit? 
Sitting poses a heavy strain on the back. The seats should be high enough, of firm consistency, buttocks well set at the bottom of the seat, against the backrest, to obtain a good lumbar support.

For example: the lower back should be well against the backrest; the thighs make a right angle with the legs, the feet resting flat on the ground; the head in line with the trunk, neither thrown forward nor thrown back.

The three natural curvatures of the spine should be aligned to decrease the mechanical stresses on the spine.

The back slightly concave or with a support at the lumbar support the lower back. Avoid seats with a vacuum in the lumbar region.

To take care of your back, you must avoid having the buttocks at the edge of the seat, round back and legs crossed. To watch TV, you have to face the screen to avoid having to raise your head, lower or turn your head and cause back pain.

The sofas and armchairs contemporary, too low, too deep, too soft, in which one sinks, answer well criteria of esthetics, but do not support the vertebral column. They are in total contradiction with a good hygiene of the back.

Also avoid spending hours on a lounge chair. Avoid the position “back bent forward” to read or write. A vision disorder such as myopia, poor lighting or a low work surface can promote this bad habit and cause back pain.

To avoid back pain after days of work in the wrong position in your seat and / or prolonged sitting, follow these tips:

– Avoid too low and too soft seats,

– adopt a good sitting position ,

– take short breaks, walk and practice relaxation and stretching exercises,

– take precautions and do not make sudden movements when bending over or turning,

– regularly modify your position, your supports,

– adapt your workstation well.

Office furniture is not always suitable and a sitting position for seven or eight hours behind a computer or worktop is made even more harmful and causes back pain.

More than 50% of those who sit are suffering from neck, middle and / or lower back. This spinal pathology is related to the extreme flexion of the column on a work furniture not adapted to its morphology.

The average size of the population has increased by 10 cm for a century, which inevitably leads to accentuate the forward flexion in front of the work plan.

The purpose of ergonomics is to adapt the material, the environment and the working method to humans.

The workstation must be designed to meet ergonomic standards, and must include:

– a seat with armrests, adjustable in height and swivel to avoid torsions of the trunk;

– a work plan placed at the elbows, sufficiently lighted and, if possible, inclined.

In everyday life, certain tasks are more easily performed in a sitting position (such as ironing, peeling vegetables, putting on socks or tights, tying shoes, etc.).

How to leave your seat? 
To get up from a seat one must use the lower limbs, rest on one’s hands and especially avoid bending the trunk and suddenly projecting forward.

Remember to bring your feet back under the seat. All work must indeed be done through the muscles of the thighs, the quadriceps, without soliciting a back effort. The armrests can help to get up.

The supine position

How and where to sleep? 
The supine position, ideal for unloading the spine, reduces the pressure on the intervertebral discs. In addition, good quality sleep and good bedding help to relax muscles and repair physical and mental fatigue.

Finding the right place to sleep is usually a matter of habit. However, it is better to get into the habit of sleeping either lying on your back, or on your side as a “rifle dog”.

Note that to take care of your back, the position lying on your stomach should be avoided. It accentuates the lumbar arch and creates too much rotation of the neck, causing backache.

How to lose this habit? 
We spend almost a third of life in a bed. To take care of your back the bedding must meet certain requirements. The mattress should be moderately firm, without being too soft or too hard, and the hard bed. It must support the back and be adapted to the body weight.

A mattress that is too soft and therefore deformable, fails to provide sufficient support for the natural muscle soreness of the spine and may be responsible for back pain with muscular contractures upon awakening.

The pillow should be of low or medium thickness to support the entire neck-head and respect the natural neck curvature. There are, in the trade, so-called “anatomical” foam pillows, molded according to the curvature of the cervical spine and having a recess in which the head rests. These pillows for “fragile necks” can be tried.

My advice: a small pillow rather flat flexible wife at best the shape of the neck and respects cervical lordosis. A pillow too big or a superposition of pillows places the head forward and absolutely does not respect the curvature of the neck which is in hyperflexion. The pillow is essential! Sleeping without a pillow is strongly discouraged because the cervical area is not supported. The neck is hyperextended.

How to get up from bed? 
To get up smoothly from the bed, you have to stand on your side, “in a rifle” at the edge of the bed, knees bent, then straighten your right back, taking support with the upper limbs and simultaneously placing the legs folded out of bed to sit. Avoid getting up suddenly in flexion or torsion. Before getting up from bed, you should take the time to relax and stretch. So, to take care of your back every day, learn to get up properly.

Standing position

The weight of the body should be equally distributed on both legs, keeping the feet slightly apart for good stability. The head should be straight in the extension of the axis of the trunk, the shoulders thrown back, to avoid the “round back”. The belly must be “tucked in” to maintain the lumbar arch in slight lordosis, close to the intermediate position. Finally, avoid standing still and prolonged.

Clothing should be loose enough and should not prevent you from taking supports, using mobility of the hips and knees and properly carrying loads. They must be hot enough to avoid drafts. As for the shoes, the height of the heels, neither too high nor too low, must be adapted to the arch of the feet.

In case of prolonged standing, avoid bending the trunk forward, kyphosis, and work as much as possible the lower limbs.

To this end, one can help oneself with the slits, to know to bend the hips and the knees, to stay near the work plan and to take supports with the hand, the pelvis or the thigh according to the position.

My advice: to wash, lean forward as little as possible, above the sink (usually too low) but spread your feet or make a “front slot”, while seeking to take a support on the edge of the bathroom sink. The key is to keep your back straight.

The different gestures and positions of everyday life

How to pick up an object on the ground? 
As a general rule, to bend down, do not bend forward, “round back”, legs straight or slightly bent. The three curvatures lose their alignment.

Depending on the nature of the act to be performed, to pick up a light object placed on the ground, three ways of proceeding can be distinguished:

squat by bending your knees and keeping your back straight and tilted forward. Those who suffer from the knees must resort to another solution;

put one knee on the ground in the “rider” position. The body is well balanced. It is sufficient, to rise, to take support of a hand on the bent knee;

the ancez one leg back, the opposite hand going for the object to pick. This “pendulum” position is often used by tennis players to pick up a ball.

How to pick up and lift a load? 
To grasp and lift a load, the three natural curvatures of the spine must be respected. For this it is recommended to:

– get as close as possible to the object;

– bend your knees without sitting on your heels; in the interest of balance, the feet should be slightly apart, the balance being even better if one of the feet is offset from the other;

– keep the load as close to the body as possible to shorten the lever arm;

finally, the best way to take care of your back is to gradually recover by using the strength of the muscles of the lower limbs to raise it, keeping the back as straight as possible and contracting the abdominals, that is to say to say “bringing in the belly”.

When we make an effort, the contraction of the abdominal muscles protects the spine.

My advice :

To take care of your back it is recommended to:

– Do not stand away from the load;

– Do not lift the load “round back”, lower limbs stretched or slightly bent;

– Do not join feet or spread them excessively;

– Do not make a sudden rotation of the trunk during the lifting effort.

How to carry a load? 
To carry a load, it must be held in front of you, well pressed against the body, and avoid wearing at arm’s length to take care of his back. Indeed, the longer the lever arm, the greater the effort.

My advice:
Avoid carrying a heavy load on one side that unbalances the column, but prefer to divide it into two lighter loads, one on each hand to prevent back pain.

The household activities
Some of them are a source of back pain due to prolonged flexion of the spine, sometimes due to inappropriate equipment, such as a sink or a worktop too low, a broomstick too short.

If you are standing up to do some housework, you have to stand as much as possible, work plan, take support and take breaks.

My tip:
To do the dishes by hand, stand as close as possible to the sink, by spreading the feet slightly and especially by pressing his basin against the edge of the sink.

To iron: set the ironing board in a high position so that you do not have to lean too far forward; support with the free hand by placing it on the table, place a foot on a footrest if necessary, so that the lumbar spine automatically moves to a good intermediate position; you will avoid long standing without pausing.

To make a bed: It is recommended to squat, kneel down or make a “lunge”, and always avoid lying on your back and legs outstretched.

To sweep or vacuum, work in “slit”, partially bending one leg forward the other remaining tight, back straight; use sleeves long enough; prefer vacuuming a broom vacuum, split the activity, avoid repetitive trunk rotations.

To wash windows and store an object on a high shelf: Use a stool or stepladder to avoid arching your lower back and neck.


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