Although determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, preventing pain is actually quite simple. It's all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting the spine, and strengthening the muscles. Changing a few daily habits could make the difference in maintaining a healthy, pain-free back for the short and long term.
- Sleep With a Pillow Under Your Knees
Elevating your legs slightly relieves pressure on your back as you sleep. Sleeping on your back puts pressure on your spine. You can cut that pressure in half by placing a pillow under your knees.
- Work Your Core
The numerous health benefits of exercise are well known. A regular strength training routine that focuses on the core muscles of the body can also help reduce your risk of back-related incidents, such as strains and muscle spasms. There are many ways to maintain a stronger, more flexible back. Try incorporating back and abdominal strengthening exercises into your workout at least twice a week.
- Up Your Calcium and Vitamin D Intake
Strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis. It’s one of the most common causes of back pain later in life, particularly for women. Keep the bones in your spine strong by consuming plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium can be found in milk, yogurt, leafy greens, or vitamin supplements. Vitamin D sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver, and cheese. Always consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement.
- Change Your Shoes
Comfortable, low-heeled shoes are best bets for back pain prevention. They reduce the strain on the back while standing. Sorry, ladies: pumps with less than a 1-inch heel are the best bet for your back.
- Straighten Up
Good posture isn't just a way to look more proper. It protects the intricate pieces of your spine to keep them functioning and healthy. Bad posture puts strain and stress on the back and can actually change the architecture of the spine itself. Avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways while standing.
- Don't Slump Over Your Desk
When sitting in your office chair, use the same good posture techniques you would use while standing. Because many of us spend hours each day sitting down, it’s critical that you maintain good posture and support your back. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support in the lower back area, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
Whether you are at an office party or a bar for happy hour, avoid sitting in an awkward position or standing in one place. Move around the room instead. This prevents pressure on the spine, which can be a result of standing in one place for too long.
- Put Out That Cigarette
We all know smoking is a serious health risk. It turns out that numerous studies have found smokers are also more likely than nonsmokers to experience back pain. One reason for the higher risk is that nicotine restricts the blood flow to the disks in the spine. This can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the muscles and tendons in the back. An unhealthy, weak back is more vulnerable to accidental strains and pulls that cause back pain.
- Lighten Your Load
Back pain is frequently caused by improper or heavy lifting, but it doesn't only happen to those lifting heavy boxes on the job. Carrying a bulky laptop bag, suitcase, camera, or load of groceries could also cause a strain on the back. Whenever possible, take some weight off your shoulders by carrying less, distributing the weight to both sides of the body, or shifting the weight from shoulder to shoulder. Consider using a rolling cart or bag with wheels for heavier loads like bags of groceries or boxes of files.
Standing, sitting, or lying down in one place for an extended amount of time may be a necessary part of life but it’s not healthy for your back. Relieve the strain of the day whenever you can by getting up, walking around, and doing some simple stretches. This will help keep the blood flowing through the bones and muscles of your back. It will also ease away any strains or aches caused by inactivity.