Learn 11 essential steps for keeping your back healthy
Being active is the key to a healthy back and enjoying daily activities. For this reason, it is necessary to consult a physician for a list of low-impact, age-appropriate exercises that are specifically targeted to strengthening the lower back and abdominal muscles.
- To prevent muscle injury, make a habit of performing routine stretching before exercising or performing activities that can put a strain on your back.
- Don’t slouch during sitting or standing because the lower back can support a person’s weight most efficiently when the curvature caused by slouching is minimized.
- To promote back stability while standing, keep your weight well balanced on your feet.
- Make sure work surfaces at home or work are at a comfortable height to prevent leaning forward and creating an unnatural spine curvature.
- Find a chair with excellent lumbar support and proper position. Adjust the height for the task and remember to keep shoulders back. Periodically walk around the office and take some time to gently stretch, which, in turn, will relieve tension on back muscles.
- For additional proper lumbar support, one may benefit from wearing a back brace which is specifically designed for this purpose. When nothing else is available, even a pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind in the S-shaped curve of the back can provide some lumbar support and keep a straight posture. During extended periods of sitting, elevate feet by putting them on a low stool, or an assembled stack of books will work just fine.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes whenever possible, especially when prolonged walking or standing is necessary.
- Sleeping in a fetal position with the knees drawn up will help to open up the joints in the spine and relieve pressure on one's spine. Whenever possible, choose to sleep on a firm mattress.
- Avoid lifting objects that are too heavy. Lift from the knees, with a straight back, keeping objects close to the body at the same time. Entirely avoid twisting when lifting.
- Remember not to neglect proper nutrition and diet to reduce excessive weight. Putting on more weight, especially around the waistline, adds an extra strain on lower back muscles ultimately leading to gradual pain increase. Stick to a diet providing sufficient amount of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D essential to promote bone growth.
- If you are smoking, stop. There is undisputed evidence that smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine, which, in turn, can contribute to spinal disc degeneration, therefore, nullifying many of the previously mentioned positive changes. Smoking also increases the risk of osteoporosis and prolongs healing time. Smoking also causes coughing, which may cause more back pain.
As it is commonly known that a body in motion remains in motion, movement increases circulation to the spinal column and back muscles. Wearing a proper comfortable back support device allows users to exercise, which was previously not possible due to pain.