Many people experience loss of motion or a numb sensation in their lower backs. It can lead to chronic pain, and in the worst cases, it can cause damage to the spinal joints and discs. Habits that affect posture and spinal alignment can significantly affect the health of your back.
However, by implementing the following six daily habits, you can enhance the health of your back and protect it from injury.
Stretching your muscles can lengthen them and reduce stress on your back. By improving your range of motion, you can reduce your chances of injury. Stretching also increases blood flow and improves soft tissue health in muscles and joints. A personal trainer can recommend the best stretches that target the hips, shoulders, and neck.
By stretching at least three times a week, you can promote muscle recovery after strenuous physical activity. When you stretch and relax your muscles, they are less likely to spasm or cause pain.
Stand tall when you sit down
Sitting for long periods can cause spinal compression or kyphosis (a curve in the lower back). When you sit, your spine has to work harder to maintain its shape. The result is a lot of stress on your spinal discs and nerves.
To prevent excessive kyphosis, use a collapsible chair or put a pillow between your seat and the backrest. These devices can help you maintain proper posture while sitting and help to relieve pressure on your back. You can also use a wall anchor to help keep your feet straight to improve your posture. Keeping the back in a neutral position will eliminate kyphosis.
Get a massage
There are numerous therapeutic benefits of getting a back massage, such as loosening tight muscles, increasing blood flow, and helping you relax. Normally a back massage doesn’t have to be vigorous, but a moderate-level massage has more stress-relief benefits than a typical light-touch massage.
An easy way to get a good back massage is by investing in a massage chair. Although it’s not the same as visiting a professional massage therapist, you’ll still enjoy the benefits of a Swedish or shiatsu massage.
Create a regular strength-training routine
Exercising has numerous health benefits. However, if you’re experiencing backaches, you may think that you shouldn’t exercise. While resting for a day or two can help with the pain, more rest may not help you. Working out regularly can help ease muscle tension and ease inflammation.
Therefore, creating a regular strength-training routine that involves all your core muscles will help reduce the risk of back-related injuries. This is why you should highly consider joining a strength coaching program to help you incorporate back and abdominal strengthening exercises that can make your back stronger and more flexible. Also, yoga and tai chi can help improve strength, posture, flexibility, and balance.
Stop smoking cigarettes
You have heard that cigarette smoking can put your health at risk. But what you may not know is that cigarette smokers are more likely to experience backaches than nonsmokers. This is mainly because nicotine restricts blood flow to the spinal disks. This causes them to dry out and crack. In addition, cigarette smoking reduces the oxygen in your blood, which greatly reduces the nourishment of back muscles and tendons. A weak back will be more prone to accidental strains, which can cause back pain.
Avoid sitting for long periods
According to studies, sedentary activity almost always causes strain on the spine and encourages improper spinal alignment. Chronic back pain is one of the most common health problems, and you can benefit from creating a more active lifestyle. If you have a desk job, walk around your office, use a standing desk, or take a break to do some exercises. You can also benefit from working with a personal fitness trainer.
Watch your weight
Adding extra pounds to the midsection of your body can increase the risk of back pain or worsen back pain. This is because the extra weight shifts your center of gravity and strains your lower back. To protect your back or control back pain, ensure that you stay within 10 pounds of your ideal weight.
Also, wear breathable clothes that aren’t too tight around the waist and thighs. Wearing clothing that restricts circulation can lessen blood flow to your lower back, causing pain and tissue damage. Be aware of tight jeans, bra straps, or athletic wear that pulls against your lower back when you bend or sit down. You can also experience pain and stiffness when you wear tight shoes. High heels and shoes that are too small or too narrow can lead to a lot of pain in your lower back. To prevent any damage to your spine, wear clothing that allows for a full range of motion and wear comfortable shoes, especially when exercising.
Consume more vitamin D and calcium
You need strong bones to prevent osteoporosis, which is among the leading causes of back pain, especially in women. To keep your bones strong, ensure that you consume plenty of vitamin D and calcium.
You can get vitamin D from:
- Egg yolks
- Fatty fish
- Beef liver
You can get calcium by consuming:
- Leafy greens
- Vitamin supplements
However, it’s recommended that you talk to your doctor before consuming any supplements.
Get enough sleep each night
When you suffer from chronic pain or an injury to your back, getting enough rest each night to heal as quickly as possible is essential. If you have back pain that is causing you to toss and turn all night, use a foam pad under your mattress for an extra cushion or place a pillow between your knees to reduce pain. If you are comfortable, you are more likely to fall asleep quickly and remain asleep throughout the night for optimal healing.
Back pain is one of the most common health problems, but you can benefit from creating a more active lifestyle. By implementing the above daily habits, you can enhance the health of your back and protect it from injury.
If you’re experiencing back pain, contact Nathan DeMetz, who can recommend the most suitable stretches and exercises for your situation.