8 Tips for a Healthy Back
This content was medically reviewed by Baher S. Yanni, MD, on August 10th, 2017.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you have chronic back pain; there are still many things you can do in order to improve your back health.
Your back is a critical component to your quality of life. It supports your body. It contains the nerves that let your limbs function. It allows you to move and be active. When you back hurts for any reason, it can severely compromise your quality of life and even make it hard to sit and stand. That’s why caring for your back, focusing on back health, and working with specialists for back pain treatment are so important day in and day out. In order to keep your back healthy, no matter what state your back may be in, there are several things you can do. Here at the Spine INA, we’ll go over eight tips in order for you to keep your back happy and healthy.\
Sleep is exceptionally important when it comes to your health. In general, if you’re not getting enough sleep or consistent sleep on a regular schedule, your body may revolt. This can cause chronic pain. When it comes to your back, there is a right way to sleep and a wrong way. Many of us are guilty of sleeping on our stomachs, and this is a big no-no when it comes to your back health. The optimal way to sleep for a healthy back is on your side on a supportive mattress. This allows your spine, including your neck, to be properly supported and decompress while you rest.
We talk a lot about exercise and for good reason. Strengthening your back muscles and your abdominals can do a world of good for your spine. By strengthening these muscles, you’re helping to take a substantial amount of weight off of your spinal discs. Without the help of these muscles, all your weight smooshes your discs down as the day goes on, potentially causing additional pain. Strong core muscles reduce this stress and provides extra protection for your spine.
Wear Good Shoes
This may sound silly, but wearing good shoes can make a significant difference in your back health. You want shoes that aren’t worn out, support the arch, and help your foot to move correctly. What we mean by correctly is that when you walk, your shoes will naturally wear down. You want your shoes to be evenly worn down in the heel, around the outside edge, and towards the toe. If you find your shoes wear out the tread unevenly or significantly towards the arch, then you might want to see a specialist to evaluate how you walk and see if ergonomic inserts are the right option for you to reduce the stress this may place on your lower spine.
Focus on Ergonomics
We cannot stress the importance of ergonomics at work enough, especially if you work a desk job. If you missed our blog on ergonomics, it’s worth reading over to help you set up your desk in order to best protect your back and neck. Ergonomics is the study and practice of proper body mechanics. These can make a huge difference when you need to sit for extended periods of time, especially for work on a computer.
If you’ve ever had to pick up a heavy moving box, or even a child, you probably know there is a right way to pick something up and a wrong way. The right way helps to protect your back, and it’s worth taking the time to always lift something correctly, no matter how heavy. Keep these tips in mind whenever you lift something moderately to substantially heavy.
- Always lift from and bend at the knees, and do not bend at the waist.
- Keep your upper back straight, and utilize good posture.
- Hold the item close to your chest.
- Make sure you have a clear path before you lift anything.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to team carry an item.
Focus on Posture
Your spine is designed to be in a specific “S” curve. When you don’t stand up straight or hold your shoulders appropriately, this shape can change. Taking the time to focus on your posture, even for just five minutes a day, can make a difference in your overall spine health. Proper posture makes sure you use the right back muscles and doesn’t put excess strain on other parts of your spine that are more susceptible to injury.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
You might be surprised how much maintaining a healthy weight can help your spine health. Just like all the joints in your body, the spinal discs are comprised of soft tissue. When you weigh more than what a doctor would recommend, you’re placing additional stress on this soft tissue that it is not designed to handle. It can lead to premature wearing of these tissues and cause additional pain. Reducing your weight by even a little can start to make a difference every day when you step out of bed.
Reduce Your Stress
This may sound like a no-brainer, but stress can have a direct impact on your back pain levels. The more stress you have in your life, the worse your back pain can get. Taking time to work on coping and relaxation techniques in order to reduce undue stress in your life can substantially reduce how much back pain you experience, no matter the actual cause. Stop by a yoga class regularly, practice Mindfulness breathing techniques, or take a hot shower and use that time to decompress and reduce your stress levels. You’re sure to see how much of a difference it will make for your back pain.
When you hurt and are in need of back pain treatment, the Spine INA is ready to help you. Specializing solely in back pain, our doctors are experienced in a wide variety of conditions and treatments to help you reclaim your life. Schedule an appointment at one of our New Jersey locations in order to get started on the road to recovery and better spine health.
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