Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Roots for a strong back!

Published:Monday | August 30, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daviot Kelly, Staff Reporter

In an effort to keep the back firm (usually with sex in mind), some men go to great lengths to make sure they can 'stand up' to their varied tasks.

But rather than 'normal' means, some try to get it in a bottle by drinking various concoctions. But do these juices or mixtures really work? Ginger (a pain reliever) and camomile (muscle relaxer), have been proven to be effective, as is peppermint. The compound menthol, a natural constituent of plants in the mint family, is found in many over-the-counter backache medications. But those are 'regular' plants.

Spend any time in a bar or sports club, and you will see at least one man mixing Supligen, Guinness, Irish Moss and whatever else they can find; vowing to 'take care a something later'. Some men are unfazed, thinking it's mind over matter. Others swear by the effects of the various roots. But if you look at the uses of some of these, roots like sarsaparilla are actually good as diuretics rather than providing a rock-solid frame. However, other roots like schisandra improve the activities of the muscles, including the back. So maybe the roots drinkers are not far off.

Of course, one way to avoid the need for any 'roots medicine' is to care for your 'back' from the beginning. WebMd points to ways you wreck your back without even knowing it, and how to avoid doing that.

Weekend Warfare: You know those men who play ball on a Saturday morning but don't do any form of exercise during the week? And for those who work around the house on a Saturday/Sunday because they don't have the time otherwise?

Suggestion: regular exercise.

Poor lifting technique: some men just don't understand it's not all about brute strength

Suggestions: Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Don't bend at your waist.

Keep the object close to you. The farther away you hold it from your body, the more it stresses your back.

Never hold an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees.

Don't move something that weighs more than 20 per cent of your body weight.

Don't pivot, twist, or turn while lifting. Point your feet at the item you're lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist.

Commuting and computing: Too much sitting in either situation is never good for the spine.

Suggestions: Get up and move at least once every 20 minutes, unless you're driving.

Keep your spine properly aligned by holding reading material at eye level (when sitting or standing) rather than bending over. Don't lean over a desk or table to work. Whenever possible, your spine should be straight.

Additional sources:,, and