Ten Tips for a Healthy Back
Healthy Back: We don’t often think about our backs until they start to hurt. Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints in the country.
Following are 10 tips to prevent and maintain a healthy back:
1) LIFT HEAVY ITEMS CORRECTLY. Proper lifting technique involves standing close to the object with your feet apart. Squat down keeping the back in proper alignment (do not hunch or bend at the waist). As you lift contract your abs and push with your legs.
2) REMAIN FLEXIBLE. Tight hamstrings and a limited range of motion in the trunk can increase your risk of back injury or make existing back pain worse. Certain exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and Pilates may help back pain by increasing flexibility and tension. Specific static stretches may help too.
3) MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT. Excess weight takes a toll on the whole body and the back is no exception. Try carrying a 25 lb pack on your back and I think you’ll understand how excess weight can affect back pain and back injury.
4) SUPPORT THE LOWER BACK WHEN SITTING. Use a pillow or rolled towel and slip it behind your lower back while sitting. Every 30 minutes remove the support to give you a change of position. If you’ve been sitting for a long period of time, don’t just jump up and move. Get up slowly and walk around to give your back a break.
5) STRENGTHEN THE ABDOMINAL, BACK, AND CORE MUSCLES. First, you need to strengthen the abs and lower back. Then you need to strengthen the rest of the core The core is made up of many more muscles than the abs and back. A strong core will protect your back and make all your other activities easier to perform.
6) MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE. Improper body alignment plays a strong role in causing back pain due to the pressure it puts on the discs and the strain it places on the muscles, joints, and ligaments. When you have good posture your body moves in alignment and back pain and injury are reduced.
7) WARM-UP BEFORE ACTIVITY. Cold muscles and cold joints put any muscle or joint at risk for injury. Take time to warm-up, and you’ll reduce the risk of back pain and injury.
8) STRENGTHEN THE LEG MUSCLES. Along with the core muscles, the lower body plays an important role in assisting good posture and body mechanics. Strong leg muscles will also take some of the burdens off your back when you are lifting heavy objects.
9) REDUCE STRESS. Stress increases tension in all our muscles including the back. This tension can cause pain. Take some time to do a little relaxation work to let that tension dissipate or try a yoga, Pilates, or tai chi class.
10) CHECK OUT YOUR MATTRESS. Because we spend a good time in bed a good mattress is a good investment. An ill-fitting mattress most certainly can cause back pain
Back pain is indeed one of the most common medical conditions in this country. The good news is that, in many cases, back pain can be prevented. If you suffer from back pain, make it a point to try each of these ten tips a day and soon your back pain will show significant improvement.