||Pain in the back and neck, and other bone and joint ailments, are pervasive problems — and the source of some interesting questions from Better Health readers.
Dr. Wasin Kulsomboon, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, helps shed light on bone and joint-related health issues.
Q: How harmful is it to skip warming up before exercising or playing sports?
A: Warming up before physical activity helps stretch muscles so they’ll be ready to absorb the intensity generated when exercising or playing sports. Stretching after exercise helps to relax and cool the muscles gradually as they enter a resting state. Warming up and cooling down sessions help to reduce the chance of muscular injuries that can result when there’s an abrupt change in the body’s level of activity.
It takes five to ten minutes of stretching for proper warming up and for cooling down. Stretching technique is also important and should be tailored to suit the specific type of physical activity. For example, stretching before running or jogging should focus more on the leg muscles, while warming up before lifting weights calls for more stretching of the arm and upper body muscles. For exercise regimens like swimming that involve many areas of the body, warm-up and cool-down sessions should involve stretching all major muscle groups.
Q: Are chiropractic procedures effective for treating back pain?
A: Chiropractic treatments are an alternative option involving a unique focus on manually adjusting the alignment of the spinal column. This type of treatment may help patients suffering from back pain or back muscle strain that doesn’t include symptoms of numbness or a tingling sensation in the arms or legs. Chiro-practic treatment is generally not recommended for treating back pain resulting from a herniated disc.
Back pain has many possible causes, including serious conditions such as osteoporosis and spinal tumors. Different causes may require different treatments ranging from medication and physical therapy to surgical treatments. Patients suffering from back pain should be evaluated by a professionally-qualified physician who can identify the root cause of the problem and propose the most suitable treatment options for one’s individual situation.
Q: Does sitting with your legs crossed cause joint problems?
A: Sitting cross-legged for long periods places stress on some joints and may result in pain in the knees, hips and spine. The severity of symptoms can also be affected by factors such as heredity and individual body structure. People with bent or misaligned joint structures tend to be at greater risk for osteoarthritis, while being overweight places excessive force on the body’s weight-bearing joints. It’s also recommended you avoid sitting on the floor cross-legged, or sitting with both legs bent to one side for extended periods. It’s also a good idea to shift one’s sitting posture and position frequently to reduce the stress placed on the body’s joints.
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