Knowing how different activities and postures can affect the back and the forces placed on it, there are certain things that can be done to prevent back injuries. Knowing how these different positions and forces affect the body, the sports massage therapist will evaluate the posture, movements, and habits. The sports massage therapist will then use this information to prepare treatment plans.
The back is made up of a vertebral column, mainly, 7 cervical, 12 thoracics, 5 lumbar, 5 fused sacral to form the sacral bone and 4 fused coccyx to make the coccyx bone. Each of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae are separated by an intervertebral disc that much resembles a jelly doughnut. The intervertebral disc is there mainly for shock absorption.
If the vertebral column were perfectly straight, there would be a lot of pressure applied directly onto the vertebrae, causing degeneration very early in life. To prevent this increase in force, the human body has developed natural curves to the spine called lordosis for the cervical and lumbar and kyphosis for the thoracic and sacral. These curves to the spine allow the spine to support 10x more weight than it could if it were just a straight.
Work and activity posture have a great impact on the back, posture and the forces that put pressure on the back. For example, a forward bend will put more pressure on the back than it would be laying down. Below are the estimated forces put on the back while in different positions. (all forces are given in Newtons)
When picking up a heavy load, bend your knees, pick it up in more of a squat movement than by just bending over.Sit in chairs with back support, and preferably chairs that are designed to keep the back healthy. When picking up weights, groceries, kids or anything heavy, keep it close to the body.