Anyone who has experienced the jolt of pain doing something mundane like tying their shoes or pulling weeds understands how debilitating lower back pain can be. Once it happens, it can become a chronic problem that prevents you from enjoying life.
You don’t have to let pain rule your life. Pay attention to these eight ways to prevent back pain and protect your spine:
It may seem counterintuitive to suggest that exercise will help to prevent back pain, and of course, we don’t mean exercising while you are in pain. Once the severe discomfort subsides, daily, gentle exercise like walking, swimming, and stretching will help keep lower back pain in check. Strengthening your core should be at the top of your list to help alleviate the strain of the muscles of the lower back.
It doesn’t matter how heavy an object is, you should always be conscious of the right way to lift something. Lifting and twisting simultaneously can wreak havoc on your lower back, but sometimes a simple adjustment can significantly relieve lower back pain.
Always stand as close to the object as you can and lift with your legs and knees while keeping your back straight. Bending your knees is always a good practice, but a straight back is an essential key to a proper lifting technique.
Never lift anything that seems too heavy. When in doubt, play it safe by asking someone else for help.
Maintain Good Posture
Remember how Mom always told you to stand up straight with your shoulders back? Little did she know how important that advice would become in the modern age of computer use. If you spend a lot of time working on a laptop or computer, it’s easy to slouch and not sit properly. Over time, this unfortunately puts pressure on your back, which may cause a degenerated disc to become more painful.
Find an ergonomic chair to keep your spine in the right position. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Take breaks at least once an hour and change position often. Convert to a stand-up desk, if possible.
You can avoid neck issues by using a headset if you must speak on the phone for a lengthy period. Never cradle a phone or cell between your chin and shoulder.
Sleeping is intrinsic to good health. It’s best to sleep on your side to relieve any pressure on your back, and this positioning also alleviates issues associated with sleep apnea. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this causes too much pressure on your spine.
Search for a mattress and pillow that provide support for both your body and neck. Proper alignment of your neck as you sleep will prevent you from waking up with pain at the start of your day.
Avoid Bending and Twisting
This is a tough one for active people to remember. We don’t realize we are doing it until it’s too late. Shoveling snow, gardening, and doing routine housework are all prime opportunities to twist our bodies as we bend down to do something. Instead, try turning your whole body instead of opting for the injury-prone twist.
Lose Some Weight
Yes, that again. Unless your BMI (body mass index) is perfect, losing a few pounds will help prevent lower back pain. Carrying extra weight, especially around your midsection, is a prime risk factor for pain in the low back since it puts added stress on the muscles and ligaments in that area. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet make it easier for you to drop excess pounds and prevent chronic back pain.
Water, Water, Water
Most of us don’t realize how vitally important staying hydrated is for our general health. Our joints need hydration to stay flexible. Our spinal discs become susceptible to dehydration and shrinkage when they lose height from lack of fluid. Consequently, discs become prone to slipping out of their proper place and leading to a painful herniated disc. Drink up!
Don’t Ignore Pain
Pain tells us something is wrong and needs to be corrected. If you continually take over-the-counter medications to relieve the same pains, you are not fixing the problem. You are also certainly not treating the underlying issue, which is likely to only become worse soon.
Schedule an appointment with Keith Clinic Estramonte Chiropractic if you suffer from chronic lower back pain and are ready to explore your treatment options.