There are millions of people who are affected by back pain every day. As well as having to live with the pain itself, a back condition can also have a negative impact on your quality of life. Back pain can cause you to miss out on work and social activities that you enjoy, and prevent you from being able to complete even basic everyday tasks.
Lower back pain is one of the main causes of job-related disability, so taking care of your spine is important. Caring for your spine, which covers both your back and your back, now will help to lower the risk of you experiencing back pain now and in later life.
A lot of the things that you can do to improve the health of your spine usuaully involve nothing more complex than practicing better body mechanics, which is the way that you move and carry yourself when you do your daily tasks and activities. You can learn more about body mechanics and spine health at https://scoliosisinstitute.com/.
Here are a few simple, but important, adjustments that you can make to your life now to improve and protect the health of your spine.
When lifting something heavy, whether heavy shopping or weights, it’s all too easy to turn or twist in the wrong way and cause damage to your spine if you don’t use proper form when you lift an object. To avoid this happening, you need to lift correctly. If you’re picking up a heavy object, like a box, stand as close to the object as you can. Lift using your legs and knees, instead of using your back or upper body to pull up the item. It will also help you to lift safely if you bend your knees so your arms are at the same height as the item you need to lift. Keep your head down and back straight. If the item that you’re lifting is heavy, don't try to lift it on your own. Ask someone to help you if something is too heavy for you.
Sleeping well is important for your overall health, but also for the health of your spine. Your body needs a good night’s sleep in order to effectively repair itself, including your spine.
Try to sleep on your side, not on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, you are putting too much pressure on your spine. If you sleep on your side, it also reduces upper airway collapse, which can help to prevent some of the symptoms of sleep apnea. This will also allow you to get a better night’s sleep.
You should also invest in a supportive mattress as well as a pillow that will keep your neck in the proper alignment. It’s also a good idea to turn your mattress on a regular basis so it wears evenly and continues to provide even support for your spine as you sleep.
One of the best things you can do to look after your back and your neck is to maintain a regular stretching routine. If you can keep flexible it will help you to maintain normal joint function and a healthy range of motion. Stretching will also reduce the likelihood of getting injured. Start your day with a few good stretches. Starting your day like this is invigorating and energizing, and will also promote good spinal health.
If you aren’t active or physically fit, then you are at an increased risk of experiencing pain in your lower back. Keeping your body active is a great way to help maintain a healthy spine. You could choose to make regular visits to the gym, go for walks, ride a bike, go swimming, or even just play with your kids. Just stay active. The best exercise routine that you can do for your back and neck is one that combines a mix of stretching, strength training, and aerobic activity.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Exercise, combined with a healthy diet, will help you to either lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, or you quickly put on a significant amount of weight, you are more at risk of experiencing lower back pain. Excess weight, particularly if you have belly fat, will put extra stress on your muscles and the tendons in your lower back. This extra stress can then lead to pain in your back.
Staying hydrated is very important for maintaining the elasticity in your soft tissue and the fluidity in your joints. Your spinal (or intervertebral) discs are vulnerable to losing hydration and can begin to lose height. As your spinal discs start to shrink, you will become more susceptible to painful disc conditions. Herniated discs, which are sometimes known as ruptured or slipped discs, happen when the loss of fluid causes your spinal discs to become brittle and will eventually slip out of place.
A herniated disc is one of the most common causes of sciatica, which is a specific kind of back pain that radiates down one of your legs. Bulging discs can also sometimes be a cause of sciatica. As well the risk of sciatica, as the protective padding of the spine diminishes, it further contributes to the loss of structural health in your spine.
Proper ergonomics can help to reduce a lot of the pressure on both your lower and upper back. This reduced stress then works to reduce the frequency of conditions including a stiff back, headaches, carpal tunnel, and sciatica. Make sure that your workspace, whether that’s at a laptop, a phone, at a computer desk, or in your car, is correctly set up for your height and for safe functionality. You should choose a chair that provides support for your lower back. If your chair doesn’t support your back properly, you can add a pillow or a rolled-up towel behind the small of your back to keep it in the optimal position. When you’re sitting down, your knees should be at 90 degrees, at about the same level as your hips, and your feet should be resting comfortably on the floor. If you use a phone at work, don’t cradle it between your ear and your shoulder. Hold the phone to your ear or use a headset, or you risk causing neck pain. You should also plan regular breaks in your working day so you can get up and walk around for a short while. If you stay in one position for too long, this will cause the muscles in your back to tighten up and become immobile. Taking periodic short breaks is also good for your mental health and productivity. Occasional breaks improve your focus on your task.
Pay Attention To Any Warning Signs
You should never ignore any spinal problems or pain. It is common to experience back pain occasionally, but it can also be a sign of a more serious problem. If you leave a problem with your spine untreated, then it can easily get worse and become a much more serious issue. You should listen to what your body is telling you. Don’t overdo it at the gym or at work. If you often have back pain, don’t self-medicate to relieve your symptoms. Instead, you should seek medical care to learn about your spine and the proper treatment for the symptoms you are experiencing. An occasional bad back, especially after hard work, is usually nothing to worry about, but don’t ignore more serious pain.