Suffering from back pain has a profound impact on your quality of life—a fact of which millions are well aware. Unfortunately, this condition is incredibly common and afflicts those with chronic back pain, new back pain, and back pain from injuries each year.
While healing an unhealthy spine is within the realm of possibility and can dramatically improve one’s ability to enjoy life on a daily basis, the best solution to back pain is prevention. Maintaining a healthy spine is essential in this pursuit of a pain-free back.
How do you maintain a healthy spine? Everyone has a unique body and personal circumstances, but implementing the tips below is a good start to stellar back health.
Whether you lift for a living, recreationally, or only when life demands it, doing so properly can keep your back safe from injury and health long-term. Improper form, including twisting as you lift or allowing your back to dominate the movement, can not only cause injury but also be detrimental to your spine over time.
Be sure to stand close to what you are lifting, focus on engaging your legs, and keep your spine aligned (not rounded). If something is too heavy for you to safely lift on your own, recruit a coworker or friend to help you.
Strengthen and Stretch
One of the best ways to prevent injury to the spine and maintain spinal health is to ensure the muscles that support it are limber and strong. To achieve this, you will need to implement an exercise regimen that includes activities that strengthen your muscles and stretch them appropriately to maintain flexibility.
The intensity and types of movements incorporated into this regimen will be dependent on your physical fitness level and the approval of your doctor, as everyone has different capabilities and physical factors that will influence how safe particular activities are. New exercise and stretching routines are not to be taken lightly, so be sure to do thorough research, communicate with your doctor, and even consider working with a trainer to ensure you are embarking on your fitness journey in a safe, productive manner.
Listen to Your Body
Learning to be in-tune with your body and be aware of the warning signs of potential injury is vital to maintaining spinal health. Your body typically intuitively knows if something is wrong and will alert you of any possible issues. If you feel any weakness or pain, consider taking it easy, resting your back, and avoiding activities that could aggravate or accentuate the problem.
If the warning signs persist or worsen, do not ignore them. This could be a sign of more serious issues and seeking the attention of a doctor is recommended.
Sleep and Work Smarter
Your spinal health can be affected even when you are inactive. Prolonged periods of sitting or even sleeping can have a significant impact on your back. Be sure to prioritize ergonomics at your workspace, take time throughout the day to move and stretch, and consider standing at your desk occasionally.
The same principles apply to your sleep habits. Use proper pillows to maintain correct alignment of the spine, try not to sleep on your stomach, and invest in a mattress that is supportive enough to promote a healthy spinal position.
These and other tips can easily be implemented into your life to help foster good back health. For more information on how to encourage spinal health, have a conversation with your doctor. They are a wealth of knowledge that can evaluate your physical condition and risk factors, then work with you to develop a personalized plan to promote spinal health.