The Back School is a medical attention programme where abilities that protect the back are taught. It is aimed for people suffering or not from a disease. It is also aimed for groups with a predisposition to suffer from a disease, such as carers, due to the activities they have to develop every day.
This programme is usually taught by qualified professionals who can decide which diseases require medical attention if needed.
The topics to cover are the anatomy and function of the back, postural hygiene, mobilisations and transfers, stretchings, exercises and recommendations. A brief summary of each part will be presented below.
In the theoretical section are explained the main functions of the spinal column. Some of these important functions are allowing to walk without losing balance, withstanding forces and burdens both in motion and at rest, as well as holding the skull up and protecting the bone narrow. Within the theoretical part are also explained anatomy subjects which are important to take into account when doing exercise. We have features that make us different from each other, and therefore the same recommendations are not valid for everyone.
Postural hygiene consists of adapting the posture to the activities made and, if possible, adapting as well the means to the personal features of each individual. It is very effective in order to prevent back pains. An activity can be usually done in different postures, but with postural hygiene all kinds of activities can be done in a more secure way for the back.
How should we do mobilisations?People with an important functional deficit need the intervention of other people to be mobilised. However, these lasts should be trained so their movements don’t affect the patient or themselves in a negative way. It should be kept in mind never to force the articulations (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, foot), and to take care of our own postural hygiene.
When moving someone from one place to another, the “brevity of the action” should be applied. In essence, this consists of making quick movements to handle the burden within the shortest time possible.
Both in mobilisations and in movements, we should try that the person that is being moved helps us as much as possible within their capacities, but without creating a dependency.
Why should we stretch?
We all have been always recommended to stretch; but do we know why? There are multiple benefits. It improves the flexibility of the muscle, the tendon, the fascias, the ligaments, the articular capsule and the skin. It also improves articular spaciousness, coordination and muscular tension, as it is a good warm-up exercise that adapts the heart rhythm. In addition, it also reduces the most common sport injuries: cramps and stiffness.
On the other hand, the most important exercises in the back school would be the respiratory exercises –with relaxing techniques- as well as the abdominal and lumbar ones, which are very close to each other. The lumbar disease is the most common and the one that causes more work leaves.
In order to do mobilisations, stretching and exercises, it is important to remember that the practical part is the most important, as well as the most dynamic and usually the most likeable.
Physical exercise brings many benefits, such as an increase of the flexibility, force and resistance of the muscle. It also increases the mineral salts of the bone –which are important in the fight against osteoporosis-, the cardiorespiratory resistance and the resistance to fatigue. Furthermore, it increases the elasticity, balance and mobility, and it is also a good source to get a better self-esteem, to improve social relations and to improve the emotional health. Lastly, it also reduces the stress and the bad cholesterol.
Good options are walking, running, swimming or bicycling, among others. The important thing is that we like it and that our doctor doesn’t contraindicates it.
Author: Vanesa López Miguens
Physiotherapist in Afaga