5 Ways to Maintain a Pain-Free Back
Thanks to so many hours stooped in front of a computer, hunched behind the wheel of a car, slouching on the couch, lugging children, groceries, gym weights and sometimes even furniture, 8 out of 10 adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. Oftentimes that pain is persistent and just gets worse with every new endeavor. The things you do every day cause your back ache, but what if your lifestyle could prevent those aches and pains? Here are 5 simple ways to live pain free:
- Eat Your Greens: Yes, your mother was right. Not only do you need calcium and vitamin D for strong bones, studies have also found that your bones need vitamin K and vitamin C as well. Green veggies like spinach, broccoli, kale and other dark leafy greens are some of the best sources of Vitamins K and C as well as calcium. Having stronger bones means you’re at less risk for injury and fracture that can cause debilitating back pain.
- Lighten Your Load: How many days out of the week do you carry a purse or a briefcase? 5? 7? Lugging too much weight consistently adds up to more wear and tear on your joints. And if you’re anything like me, you probably have a favorite hand or shoulder with which you tote your bag. This unevenness can seriously throw your back out of whack. Consider opting for the smaller bag, take less stuff and alternate which side you carry your purse or briefcase on. Your bag should weigh less than 10 percent of your weight and if possible, have a strap long enough to sling across your chest for added support.
- Get Better Sleep: If you’re going to spend a third of your life between the sheets like you’re supposed to, then investing in the right bed should be a no brainer. A bed that’s too hard or too soft can be killer on your hips, back and neck, especially. It can make it harder for you to sleep, so not only will you be cranky the next day, but you’ll be sore too. Buy a quality mattress that’s just right for you. When it comes to pillows, consider downgrading to just one and toss the many throw pillows. Your pillow should ideally support your head so that your neck is in line with your back. Also, try using a pillow between your knees and if possible, avoid sleeping on your back to remove added pressure.
- Rely on Your Core: Your core muscles are there to support your whole body, especially your back. The stronger your abs are, the less you will need to rely on your back to keep you upright – that’s your stomach muscles’ job. And strengthening your back muscles will help to keep your spine in place when you do need to use your back. If doing traditional crunches aggravates your back, try pelvic tilts or the plank pose.
- Stand Up Straight: This may sound obvious, but we all need a reminder every once in a while. The more aware you become of your posture while you’re standing, sitting and working out, the easier it will be to prevent pain and injury. Get in the habit of noticing your posture every hour or so and making any necessary adjustments.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.