14 May Tips for Keeping Your Back Healthy
Back pain is a common misfortune experienced by many every day. Living in pain can be miserable and diminish your quality of life, causing you to miss out on days of work and/or social activities that you would otherwise enjoy, and prevent you from being able to accomplish the most basic of tasks.
Taking care of your spine — that is, your neck and back — today will help you reduce your risk of experiencing back pain in the future.
Many of the steps you can take to improve the overall health of your spine are quite simple, involving nothing more than practising better body mechanics (how you move and carry yourself) as you go about your daily activities.
SIMPLE TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR BACK HEALTHY:
- Strengthen your core muscles – The lower back is under the stress of supporting the entire upper body. The surrounding core muscles – found in the lower back and abdomen – need to be strong and supple in order to sufficiently support the spine and reduce the pressure on the lower back. These core muscles can be toned through specific, targeted exercises.
- Stretch – Back pain problems are commonly caused by tight muscles. If your back muscles are tight, they will put added stress on the spine and joints. Taking the time to stretch the back and neck everyday promotes good spinal health. Keeping flexible helps maintain normal joint function and a good range of motion as well as reduces the risk of injury.
- Do not stand with straight legs – keeping your knees “soft,” rather than locked straight when you stand reduces stress on your spinal column.
- Avoid sitting with poor posture –good posture helps to keep your spine
healthy by allowing it to maintain its natural shape and keeping blood flowing while poor posture can stress your spinal column and constrict blood flow.
If you have to sit for long periods of time, get up and take a short walk every 30 minutes or so.
- Lift correctly – Avoid lifting excessively heavy objects. When carrying a load, do not carry it on one side of the body as it puts pressure on your vertebrae and do not carry it at arm’s length. Instead, keep it centred and close to your body.
- Kneel to bend – bending over at the waist puts pressure on your spinal column. Instead, bend your knees and lower your whole body when you need to, rather than folding over at the waist.
- Sleep posture –Sleeping on your back also puts pressure on your spine.
Elevating the knees slightly by placing a pillow under them or lying on your side with a pillow between your knees reduces the pressure.
- Watch your weight – Excess weight puts a strain on your back. In order to compensate for extra weight, the spine can become tilted and stressed unevenly. The back may lose its proper support and develop unnatural curvature of the spine over time.
- Choose appropriate footwear – Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes will reduce the strain on your back while standing and moving, helping to prevent back pain.
- Mimimise smoking – Smoking restricts the blood flow to the discs that cushion the vertebrae and has been associated with loss of the normal fluid in the spinal discs which can lead to the development of degenerative spinal disc disease and/or loss of the normal shock-absorbing properties of the spine. This in turn can lead to early spinal arthritis and/or loss of mobility. Smoking also reduces calcium absorption and new bone growth, which increases the risk of an osteoporotic fracture.
At Osteovision all practitioners are fully trained to give you the appropriate advice to help keep your back healthy. All treatments include exercise recommendations and manual therapy to help relieve your pain. Contact our Guildford Clinic today to discuss your symptoms and get the help you need.