Not only do we want to be able to fix back pain when it occurs, but ideally, we want to PREVENT back pain from occurring at all. Although some back pain can be attributed to acts of trauma—such as a car accident or a severe fall—most is due to everyday activities that are done incorrectly (without you even realizing it, I’m sure!). These everyday activities can include things such as vacuuming, bending over to pick something up or even simply carrying shopping bags.
Tips to Keep Your Back Healthy
- Check Your Posture. Working at a desk for 7-8 hours a day, or slouching over your computer or even your cell phone when you’re texting (we all do it!) is extremely damaging to your back and could cause future back pain. If you must sit for a long period of time, be sure to have a comfortable chair that will allow you to sit with your shoulders back and refrain from slouching. Be sure to break up the long periods of time in front of a computer or other screen by participating in stretching exercises for 5-10 minutes every hour, helping you to maintain the natural curves of your back.
- Get Out and Exercise. Daily. I’m sure you’ve been told time and time again about the importance of exercising. And there is merit behind the recommendations to exercise daily. It’s important because not only does exercise help keep your weight down, but it also prevents back pain. Being overweight and suffering from back pain go hand in hand—extra weight, particularly around your midsection, can put a great deal of added strain on your back. Likewise, if you aren’t in “good” shape, you are far more likely to hurt yourself when participating in simple daily activities. Your muscles are meant to move, so get out there and exercise! You can record your daily exercise, and find daily motivation, on any of these 6 apps here.
- Quit Smoking. I’m sure you know that smoking raises your risk of heart disease and cancer (specifically lung and colon); however, it is also extremely harmful to your back. Studies show that smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs between the vertebra, causing those discs to begin to deteriorate. Smoking also causes the blood vessels to narrow, which can result in reduced oxygen and nutrients to your spine. Why is this bad? Reduced oxygen and nutrients means you will be more susceptible to injury, and if you are injured, your body will take much longer to heal.
- Rest Well. For starters, choose a mattress that is suited to factors such as your height, weight, age and other necessary comfort levels. But getting the proper mattress is only half of the battle: try making a cognizant effort to sleep sideways rather than on your back or stomach. If you must sleep on your stomach, place a pillow under your lower abdomen to reduce the amount of stress to your back. And don’t forget, getting enough rest is always another important aspect of maintaining overall good health!
A few other tips for good measure: always bend your knees and hips rather than your back, lift and carry objects close to your body, sit with feet flat on the floor and, lastly, when sitting, use a chair with a backrest (feet flat on the floor), changing how you sit every few minutes.
Are you already experiencing back pain and looking for pain relief products? Check out our products page or give us a call at 419.678.4979 for more information!