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World of back health 

At home

Saturdays with the Mustermanns

Back-friendly everyday life

In the bedroom, living room or dining room, while gardening or when doing housework everyday life at home can be healthy for your back. Ergonomic chairs, sofas and lawnmowers help, as does optimum lighting for example on a child's desk.

 

The weekend should be for relaxing. One can read a good book in an armchair or binge-watch the latest season of "The Crown" on the sofa, but while more and more offices are equipped with back-friendly furniture, the situation is still different in many households: Beds, chairs and sofas might be comfortable, but are often outdated and not ergonomic. Many things can be made more back friendly at home as the everyday life of Nicole and Stefan shows. They are a fictitious couple who are representative of many Germans. According to the Robert Koch Institute, around 60 percent of German citizens complain that they have suffered from back pain in the past 12 months or are still suffering from it.

A day in the life Leben von Nicole und Stefan

Saturday morning begins for Nicole with back pain again. The stabbing ache in her lower back makes it difficult to get out of bed and into the bathroom.

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„We spend a third of our lives in bed. This is why you should pay particular attention to a back friendly bed design, otherwise sleep tends to lead to pain and we are supposed to regenerate at night," explains Detlef Detjen, Managing Director of Aktion Gesunder Rücken e. V. A modern bed consisting of a flexible slat base and a tailored mattress could prevent Nicole's back pain as it encourages night-time movement and takes individual needs into account. The intervertebral discs can regenerate and tense muscles are relieved. The correct bed also ensures good ventilation and air circulation.

Zahnrad
Further links
Tips, information, checklists and product lists for:
 Beds and mattresses
 Pillows
∗  Therapeutical Pillows
 Duvets
 Baby bed and crib mattresses

„My back is as important to me as a friend and it should be to you too."

Brandon Thomas
professional American basketball player

It's not just in the bedroom that one finds opportunities for a back-friendly home. We accompany Nicole into the kitchen. Plates are in the top cupboard, bread rolls and toast in the bottom cupboard.

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She works at different heights every time she prepares breakfast.
An ergonomically designed kitchen reduces the strain on the back enormously. The oven can be installed at working height. Pullout pharmacy cabinets provide a quick overview and allow you to search for the right ingredients without twisting your body and straining your back. An optimum height for the worktops also creates a more ergonomic kitchen. The rule of thumb is that the distance between your elbow and the worktop should be between 10 and 20 centimetres, 20 to 40 centimetres from the hob and a maximum of 10 centimeters from the sink. Electrically height-adjustable worktops or worktops of different heights make cooking even easier and with optimal planning Nicole can concentrate fully on recipes without fear of back problems. As a back expert, Detjen also warns against too much comfort, correct movement should never be neglected at home.

In addition to having a kitchen that supports and promotes physical health, Nicole would be well advised to take a closer look at her dining room.

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Meals with family and friends at the dining table can also be made more back-friendly. Dining chairs that carry the AGR seal of approval promote active sitting which relieves the spine and intervertebral discs, helps the muscles and even has a positive effect on the psyche. We recommend alternating between active and passive sitting which is made possible by reclining seats and backrests. "In addition, the backrest should be shaped similarly to the lumbar spine in order to support it." says Detjen. If the chair itself doesn't offer any movement Nicole can opt for a dynamic seat cushion instead of simple decorative cushions and do something good for her back at the same time. The constant small movements of the cushion would allow Nicole to train small muscle groups in her back while sitting. This strengthens her back without her having to do anything herself.

Zahnrad
Further links
Tips, information, checklists and product lists for:
 Dining room chairs
 Dynamic seat cushions

„Back pain should be prevented early on. Age is irrelevant. Young and old benefit from back friendly products in their homes”

Detlef Detjen
Managing Director of Aktion Gesunder Rücken e. V.

Relaxation instead of tension in the garden…
Nicole and Stefan can promote their back health not only when sitting - there are many other possibilities in the home.

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Stefan wants to relax and unwind while gardening, doing something for his mobility at the same time. When planting flowers, weeding, mowing the lawn or trimming the hedge he is either kneeling on the ground or standing up and stretching out, usually with his back bent. A lawnmower with height-adjustable handles would make his work easier, with an additional ergonomic handle and less weight gardening would cause Stefan less back pain. This also applies to hedge trimming, swaying backwards and forwards on the ladder because the scissors are too heavy only hurts the back. If the hedge trimmer were equipped with an ergonomic handle and was light in the hand despite a powerful motor, it would also be much easier work. Bending down or heavy lifting can often not be avoided, but it should be done properly. Detjen recommends that "It is important to get help when carrying heavy objects. Castors can also help with transportation," says the expert.

Zahnrad
Further links
Tips, information, checklists and product lists for:
 Hedge trimmers
 Lawn mower
 Lawn trimmer
 Shovel and spade

In the afternoon Nicole and Stefan usually share the housework and here focus can also be on back health.

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As hard as Stefan tries he can't always reach every corner, especially not under the couch. He must kneel and in the next movement stretch to remove the spider's web on the ceiling. The change in position is tedious and strenuous for the back. He must also constantly plug and unplug the vacuum as he goes from room to room. A back friendly vacuum cleaner would make tedious vacuuming more pleasant for the back. Stefan could adjust the handle as required to suit his height or the conditions at the time, on/off switches can be integrated into the handle for quick and easy operation and a cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner would eliminate the need to constantly drag the vacuum cleaner behind you and change sockets. Front lighting on the floor nozzles is another addition that would make Stefan's vacuuming easier.

Zahnrad
Further links
Tips, information, checklists and product list for:
 Vacuum cleaning

Easy on the back also for children in the home
After Stefan has vacuumed the kitchen, living room and bathroom he starts in the children’s rooms. Max sits at his desk with a hunched back and does his homework.

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The tabletop is so low that he can't even sit upright. A height-adjustable desk (like the one Stefan uses in his company's office which helps him to prevent back pain), a desk that grows with the child would make calculating and writing at home more comfortable. "Back pain should be prevented early on. Age is irrelevant. Young and old benefit from back friendly products in their own homes" says Detjen. The right lighting can also take additional strain off his young back. "You automatically move in the direction of the light source. This can quickly lead to incorrect posture," says Detjen. Desk lamps with functions such as infinitely variable dimming and articulation technology that allow Max to change the angle of the light are therefore ideal.

Zahnrad
Further links
Tips, information, checklists and product lists for:
 Children's furniture
 Floor cushions
  Lighting

What conditions must a back friendly couch have?

  • The seat height and seat depth must suit the user.
  • The backrest must support the back up to the shoulders.
  • A reclining function promotes relaxation.
  • The firmness of the upholstery must be tested in advance to achieve optimum comfort.
  • The feet should be able to touch the floor in an upright sitting position, with the lower legs and thighs at approximately a 90 degree angle to each other.
  • 2-3 finger widths of space between the pad and the back of the knee.Die Sitzhöhe und Sitztiefe müssen zum Nutzer passen.

At the end of a day the whole family should relax. But the couch is now so old that Nicole, Stefan and Max are actually just sinking into a deep hollow instead of relaxing in a back friendly way while watching TV.

 

 

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Back-friendly sofa sets where you can choose and combine different seat heights and depths upon purchase can help. This is particularly suitable for households with people of different sizes, as Nicole, Stefan and Max can customise their favourite spot individually. As with recliners, there are sofas that are easily adjustable so that the back and seat can be brought into a reclining position.

If you're going to sit, then sit properly!

Luckily, Nicole can retreat to her hanging chair with her book which is already back friendly. With its small cotton interlacing, it is softer on the back and prevents pain. Stefan also wants to get rid of his old armchair soon, which came from his grandparents. It is so deep that Stefan is afraid he won't be able to get up without dislocating himself. An armchair with a suitable seat height and integrated footrest, so that his upper body is moved backwards and his feet upwards when he leans back, would positively support him. Above all, the seat has to fit Stefan's physique in terms of depth, width and height. The general rule for a back-healthy TV evening is to change your sitting position often or stand up during commercial breaks. The more you move, the better you can prevent back pain.

Zahnrad
Further links
Tips, information, checklists and product lists for:
 Recliningchair
 Sofas
 Hanging chairs
 Riser-recliner chairs

„Back-friendly furnishings should be the be-all and end-all in every home.
But exercise should never be missing.
"

Detlef Detjen
Managing Director of
Aktion Gesunder Rücken e. V.

Further links

Back exercise

A stretching exercise for the shoulders

The outstretched arm is moved towards the body by applying pressure to the upper arm. This stretches the shoulder and relaxes it. Repeat on the other side.

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