Look after your back and you’ll enjoy a much happier, more active lifestyle. There are many things you can do to optimize the health and wellbeing of your back, some are obvious – don’t lift overly heavy weights – but need to be emphasized again, and some might be somewhat less known. Here are 10 tips to looking after your back and keeping it in a healthy condition.
1. Understand why you have back pain. Usually back pain is not the result of an accident or trauma. Face up to the fact that you may eat too much and not exercise enough, both of which play a key role in the health (or lack thereof) of your back.
2. Consult your doctor or chiropractic care specialist. You don’t self-diagnose when you have a virus or infection, you see a specialist; so do the same for your back. Find out why you have back pain and take advice on how best to correct it.
3. Develop a healthier lifestyle. Once you know you suffer with back pain develop a healthier regimen for yourself. Better diet and regular exercises will both play big roles in improving your back, and your chiropractor or doctor can give you good advice on both.
4. Start to monitor yourself throughout the day. Take note of how you treat your body throughout a typical day. Do you slouch when sat at your desk, or is your chair not back-friendly? Is your sofa too high or low for you and is your bed too soft and unsupportive? Do you put strain on your back when you get into or out of your car, or is any other physical activity hurting your back? Answer these questions and you’ll be able to treat your back better each day.
5. Don’t try to be a gold medal weightlifter. You’re not competing in the Olympics so don’t try and be a hero with heavy objects. Pick up heavy items using the knees not the back, carry heavy objects close to you and not with outstretched arms, and if you must carry heavier items use a rucksack/backpack instead of a shoulder/tote bag.
6. Keep things at eye level. Most people spend a lot of time looking at computer and television screens each day. Make sure they are at eye level so you do not have to crane your neck or bury your chin into your chest to view them.
7. Stretch, stretch, stretch! This is particularly important for anyone who spends a lot of their day at a desk or computer screen. Take the time to stand, walk around and stretch out your neck and back muscles. Try and do this at least once an hour.
8. Maintain a good posture. Slouching puts a strain equivalent to 100lbs on your back, so sit up straight and your back will thank you.
9. Stop smoking. As if this needed to be pointed out, however, smoking is believed to reduce blood supply to the discs in the back and smokers are 80% more prone to chronic back pain than non-smokers.
10. Visit your chiropractic care specialist on a regular basis. A spine specialist will treat your existing back pain and help you to minimize the risks of any future back problems.