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Fighting fit.

Byline: By Paul Love

Lower Back Pain

The development of technology has unfortunately brought with it a rise in inactive lifestyles.

The car is no longer classed as a luxury, but is now seen as a necessity, computers have taken the place of manual labour and television dominates the evening.

I am willing to bet that 95% of you are reading this sitting down.

All this sitting can lead to a whole host of health issues such as obesity, hypertension, high resting heart rate and lowered metabolic rate, but this week we'll focus on the increasingly common problem of lower back pain.

Constant sitting is not the only cause of lower back pain but it can be a major contributing factor.

As with most physical ailments, back pain is often the result of bad posture. People have to be taught to lift things properly and to strengthen the `core' muscles that protect the back.

We also need to understand that any prolonged deviation from our basic standing posture will lead to problems in the longer term.

The seated position causes a shortening of our hip flexors (muscles in the hip and upper leg), our hamstrings (muscles in the back of upper leg) and sitting in this position for a long period of time will lead to a resetting of the muscle length, causing muscular imbalance.

If the function of these muscles is inadequate it will lead to problems with the way we walk and our body will compensate by adjusting itself accordingly.

If the leg can't move back far enough, for example, the lower back will often arch to allow for this movement, leading to back pain.

So how do we combat these problems?

In severe cases, corrective programming may be needed, where a personal trainer will provide you with exercises that strengthen and lengthen opposing muscles groups.

In addition to this, deep tissue massage is an excellent way to help the long-term corrective process.

Generally, self-stretching is the simplest way to help elongate your muscles and the accompanying pictures demonstrate two ways to stretch your hamstrings.

Paul Love and his colleagues at Greens Health & Fitness can be contacted on 0191 213 0070.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 25, 2005
Words:363
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