Back pain is one of the top causes of disability according to “The Global Burden of Low Back Pain” study. This isn’t surprising as the American Chiropractic Association says 80 percent of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
It’s also the leading reason why people miss work. “The Hidden Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans” states there are two lost workdays for every full-time employee in the U.S.
That’s why it’s important to develop healthy habits for your back. This will help stave off back pain and ensure you maintain a good range of mobility. And if you experience back pain, these can help minimize the pain.
Sleeping on the stomach is the worst position for the back. The weight from the middle of the body puts the spine in an unnatural position. It also taxes the neck. Any stress on the spine affects other parts of the body.
A better position is sleeping on the side with a pillow between your legs. Use a supportive pillow and mattress. The ideal mattress is one that’s medium firm.
Using incorrect form while lifting can cause back pain. Too often, people lift with the back. And in some instances, they twist. Avoid twisting. Stand close to the object and bend down with your knees. Keep your back straight as you lift with your legs. Instead of trying to lift heavier items, ask for help. Don’t sacrifice your back.
Many advise sitting up straight while working at a desk or computer. But it doesn’t always put your back in a natural position. A better approach is to lengthen your spine and add support. It’s worth investing in an ergonomic chair, keyboard, and mouse.
An ergonomic chair will support the natural arch of the back. Or roll up a towel and place it at the small of your back. Knees should be level with your hips at 90 degrees. Pay attention to your posture. It’s easy to slouch while working at a computer.
Take a walk for a few minutes every hour to keep the back muscles loose and mobile. And avoid holding the phone between your ear and shoulder. Opt for a headset instead.
When you don’t use something for a long time, it turns rusty and loses mobility. The same goes for the back. Use it or lose it. Movement is medicine. Always warm up with dynamic stretches before exercising. These are stretches with movement. After you finish your workout, do static stretches where you hold a position for at least 30 seconds.
Yoga can help prevent and ease back pain. It strengthens your core, which plays a big role in protecting your spine. It also keeps you flexible. Staying active does not mean you need to jog or run. You can do strength training, walking, biking, sports, gardening, and kayaking to name a few.
Unless advised by a doctor, it’s wise to shun prolonged bed rest. Again, movement is medicine. The more you move, the less pain you will have. Staying active helps with weight management.
You work hard to exercise. Don’t let it go to waste by smoking. This affects blood flow, which can deprive spinal tissues of oxygen and important nutrients.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
The more weight on a body, the more pressure it puts on the back, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and joints. Quickly gaining weight and excess weight increase the risk of getting back pain.
A simple diet change can make a big difference. A person who drinks three sugary drinks per day can cut one drink for a few weeks. Then, cut another for a few weeks.
The back is responsible for so many movements. It’s amazing how a little back pain can restrict movement. Making these lifestyle changes will keep the back happy and healthy.
Have a question? Please contact us or call 214-823-2052. We have two conveniently located offices in Addison and Dallas serving patients in Dallas, Addison, Plano, Frisco, Garland, and other cities in the DFW metroplex.