Sit Up Straight
If you work a 9 to 5 office job and are hunched over a computer all day, beware. The discs in your spine are 3x more loaded while sitting than standing. This can lead to back pain. If this situation sounds familiar, there are a few things you can do. First, choose an ergonomic office chair, like the ones we offer at Healthy Back. This will help you to sit in a more natural, proper position, putting less pressure on your spine. Also, take time to get up and walk around here and there throughout your shift. Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can be stressful for your spine, but getting up to stretch can go a long ways into relieving pressure.
Choosing the Right Mattress
Getting a good night's sleep is important for your overall health. When you sleep on a mattress that is lumpy and unsupportive, you can spend more time tossing and turning and less time getting your precious Zs. Make sure the mattress you own is supportive and promotes proper alignment of your neck and spine. Memory foam and pure latex mattresses, for example, completely conform to your body's unique curves. These are great options for mattresses that will protect your spine, as well as give you a great night's sleep.
Another tip--sleep on your side. When you sleep on your stomach or back, it puts a lot of pressure on your spine. If you like to lay on your back, try placing a pillow underneath your knees. This cuts the pressure in half. You can also use a pillow between your knees when lying on your side to help relieve any back pain you may have.
Don't Skip the Back and Ab Workouts
If you are working to get a six pack, don't forget your "back abs." Your core is constantly under pressure from supporting the entire body. When you do not have strong abdominal and back muscles, additional stress can be added to the spine. When you exercise your abs and back regularly, it acts to promote a healthy spine. Be sure to incorporate ab and back exercises into your regular workout routine, and don't forget to work out the lower back as well.
How Are Your Shoes?
Did you know that the shoes you wear have a big impact on your spine? Whether you are wearing stilettos to a concert or lounging in flip flops on a hot summer's day, your shoes provide a base of support that keeps your body and spine in alignment. Be sure to choose shoes that are well balanced, flexible and comfortable. If needed, use inserts in your shoes to provide further balance. This will keep you from possible injury and will place less strain on your muscles.
Be Careful When You Lift
It's very easy to hurt your back when lifting heavy objects. There are a few steps to lifting things properly, so that you don't twist the wrong way or damaged your spine. First, stand as close the object as possible. Next, use the muscles in your legs to lift the item rather than straining the muscles in your back and upper body. It's helpful if you bend your knees so that your arms are at the same height as the item. lastly, when you carry the object, keep it as close to your body as possible.
Stretch for Good Health
If you want to decrease your chances of experiencing back pain later in life, start stretching. When you are flexible, you maintain normal joint function as well as good range of motion. This will also help reduce the risk of injury. The hamstrings are some of the tightest muscles in the body and can be the cause of back pain. Taking a few minutes every day to stretch your hamstrings can make a huge difference in the overall health of your back. Also, consider joining a yoga class--yoga is great for all ages and is a wonderful way to increase muscle strength, tone,and flexibility.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated will help to maintain your soft tissue elasticity as well as the fluid in your joints. Spinal discs can actually begin to shrink if there is not enough hydration. When they shrink, your discs become vulnerable to painful conditions like ruptured discs or bulges. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids for your spinal health.
To learn about other great ways to support and strengthen your back, contact us at Healthy Back.