As many as three-quarters of all men have back problems, ranging from sore or strained muscles to herniated discs. Low back ailments tend to be the most common because the lower spine supports the weight of your entire upper body.
The neck is also a problem area for many men. Proper posture to protect your back begins with the neck and works downward.
- Practice proper lifting techniques and use hand trucks, dollies or forklifts when moving heavy material.
- Wear a back brace if you lift items frequently.
- Avoid cradling a telephone handset between your head and shoulder.
- Take frequent breaks to stretch your muscles. If you sit for long periods of time, make sure you have a comfortable chair that supports your back. If you need extra low back support place a small pillow or a rolled-up towel in the small of your back.
- Make sure the height of your chair allows you to sit tilted forward with your knees slightly lower than your hips. Bend from the hips if you must lean forward, keeping your neck and back in as straight a line as possible.
- If you stand for long periods of time, alternate resting one foot on a small footstool or block every few minutes.
- Sleep on a firm, good-quality mattress. If you need a firmer mattress and can’t buy one, place a three-quarter inch piece of plywood under the mattress to make it firmer. Sleep on your side with your hips and knees bent toward your chest.
- Use a small, firm pillow under your head and one between your knees to maintain proper spinal alignment. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees and keep your neck elongated with a small pillow.
- Avoid propping your head up with pillows to read in bed.
- If you sit for long periods of time, make sure you have a comfortable chair that supports your back. If you need extra low back support place a small pillow or a rolled-up towel in the small of your back.
- Stretch and exercise your back and neck muscles each day.