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We’ve got your back! Looking after your spine at work

Medihelp

2021-04-28

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Back strain or pain is one of the most common health niggles for office workers, because we spend so much time sitting and few of us maintain good posture. The good news is that there are simple ways to sort out that stiff lower back.

Common causes of back pain

  • Bad posture
  • Inactivity
  • Lifting heavy objects incorrectly
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Sleeping position

How to take proper care of your spine

  • Strengthen your core muscles to support your spine properly. Do this simple exercise: Push your chair away from your desk and then stand up and sit down repeatedly without using your arms to push you up. This requires that you engage your core muscles. Do this a few times a day – it has the added benefit of forcing you to take a short break and stimulates your blood circulation.
  • Stretch more. Create a daily habit of stretching regularly during the day and/or join a yoga or Pilates class to sort out those stiff muscles.
  • Maintain good posture when you sit, stand and walk. Keeping the spine straight will remove unnecessary pressure from the discs and engage your core muscles to support the spine.
  • Move. Get up from your desk a few times a day, walk around the office and climb a few flights of stairs. Add moderate exercise to your day. This will also help you get fitter and benefit your health in other ways.
  • Lift heavy objects correctly. Bend your knees when you lift something heavy and ask for help if something is too heavy to pick up by yourself. If you use force, your spine will twist the wrong way and injure muscles or, even worse, a disk in your spine.
  • Sleeping positions matter. If you sleep on your back it can put unnecessary pressure on your spine. You can counter this effect by placing a pillow under your knees to elevate your legs slightly. Try to sleep on your side at times and use a pillow between your knees to relieve strain on your back muscles.
  • Watch your weight. Excess weight puts unnecessary pressure on your spine, which could result in long-term spine conditions. If you are overweight, speak to your doctor about a safe way to lose weight through proper dieting and exercise.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking restricts blood flow to the discs that cushion the vertebrae in your spine. This can cause disc degeneration. Smoking also inhibits calcium absorption in your bones and impairs new bone growth.
  • Consider supplements. Vitamin D and calcium help to build healthy bones. Remember to always ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before adding supplements to your diet.

Back pain can sometimes be caused by more serious conditions than a simple muscle spasm or lack of exercise. If you suffer from consistent back pain or your back pain worsens, see your doctor for a professional diagnosis.

Your medical aid has got your back!

Medihelp’s 2021 offering of medical aid benefit options all include a basket of added insured benefits aimed at giving our members extra value at no extra cost. Our back treatment programme forms part of this value offering. All members have access to the Document Based Care programme and treatment at DBC facilities nationwide should they be eligible. This treatment has a success rate of more than 90% for avoiding surgery.

Medihelp has a range of 10 diverse benefit options, including a hospital plan , savings plans , comprehensive plans and even an option for full-time students . We also offer a hassle-free online application process and our in-house developed Application in Motion system will keep you updated on the progress of your application with SMS and email messages.
If you’d like a professional opinion before deciding on a benefit option you are welcome to leave your details hier and we will arrange for a Medihelp accredited adviser to contact you.

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