Low back pain is a common problem that affects a large number of individuals - almost 80% of us at some point in time. This type of pain can have a significant impact on our daily activities, and can make it difficult to work, exercise, or even just to sleep.
There are, however, a number of basic tips that can help individuals keep their back healthy and reduce the risk of low back pain. This blog is going to look at 5 simple and effective tips for a healthy back.
1. Try To Maintain A Healthy Weight
One of the most important things that individuals can do to keep their back healthy is to maintain a healthy weight. When your body is carrying extra weight, extra stress is put on your back.
Being overweight or obese can lead to a number of problems, one of them being low back pain. By losing weight, individuals can reduce the amount of stress on their back and decrease their risk of pain.
Focus On Healthy Foods
No one likes to hear the word diet, which is why focusing on adding some healthy foods to your daily food intake can be a great place to start. Focus on doing something positive for your body, rather than feeling like you are punishing yourself.
A delicious smoothie here. Some healthy oatmeal there. Starting with small steps can add up to big health returns in the long run.
2. Watch Your Posture
Another important tip for keeping the back healthy is to maintain good posture. Sitting for long periods of time can put a lot of stress on our backs, and can lead to a number of problems, including low back pain.
When we focus on sitting with good posture, we can often reduce the amount of stress we place on our backs, and also decrease our risk of pain.
Setting a timer to check your posture or to force yourself to get up and walk around a bit can help to take some of the pressure off our backs when we are sitting at a desk, or driving in a car all day.
Set Yourself Up For Success
You can also make sure that your workstation is set up as ergonomically as possible. You don’t have to go and buy a fancy standing desk - most people think they are somewhat overrated anyway.
Rather invest in a good chair, if you can, or simply make sure that your feet touch the floor at a right angle and that you aren’t having to reach too far to access your keyboard, phone, printer, etc. Repetitive twisting motions are a major culprit when it comes to low back pain strains.
One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of low back pain is to exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help to strengthen the muscles in your back, which can help to support the spine and reduce the risk of pain.
Regular exercise can also help to improve blood flow and sends key nutrients to your muscles. This blood flow ensures flexibility of the muscles, too, which can also help to reduce the risk of back pain.
Types Of Exercise For Preventing Low Back Pain
There are a number of different exercises that individuals can do to help keep their back healthy. You can do specific exercises aimed at targeting low back strength and flexibility, like the bird dog exercise or "Supermans", or you can engage in something more general like yoga, swimming, or pilates if you prefer to have something that feels more like an activity than simply doing specific exercises.
Research has shown that exercise is one of the best, easiest, and most affordable ways to manage chronic low back pain. Just taking your dog for a walk around the block can make a big difference to your long term mobility and low back flexibility, and your dog will love you for it, too!
4. Leave The Heavy Lifting For Someone Else
Improper lifting of heavy objects is a major cause of low back pain injuries. Ideally you can find someone to help you carry the heavy item, but even then, it is important to be mindful of your movements. Bend at the hips and not at the waist, and use your legs to help with the lift.
5. Get Some Quality Sleep
Another important tip for keeping the back healthy is to get a good sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to cause a number of problems, including low back pain.
When we sleep, special processes occur that help to wash out the toxins from our cells (including our spines) and we end up with happy, healthy cells the next day. Think of your body as a giant dishwasher that cleans everything overnight and leaves you (and your cells) shiny and new the next day.
When we don’t get enough sleep we increase levels of inflammation in our bodies, which then lead to increased pain, and decreased flexibility.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
Practicing good sleep hygiene can help improve your sleep if that is something you struggle with.
Having a set bed time, a regular sleep routine, a dark and cold enough room, and avoiding screens 1-2 hours before bed can help signal to your body that it is time to sleep and encourages melatonin production that helps give us a good, deep sleep.
In conclusion, low back pain is a common problem that affects a large number of individuals. However, by
maintaining a healthy weight,
maintaining good posture,
being mindful of movements,
getting enough sleep
individuals can reduce their risk of low back pain and improve their overall health. Just make sure to consult with your healthcare provider if you have any special medical conditions or if you have any "red flags" accompanying your low back pain.