Modern lifestyle accompanied with it’s stress has made neck and back pain a very common ailment (4 out of 5 people report it to the doctor). Neck and back problems can affect the quality of our lives and make the performance of daily activities cumbersome. But what isn’t known is that simple yet effective changes in one’s lifestyle can prevent back and neck pain and even prevent it from coming back and these 6 tips will do just that:
Try a new pillow
Providing comfort and support to your neck while sleeping is crucial and the best way to do it comes after some trial and error. What’s important to remember is that the pillow should keep the user’s cervical spine in neutral alignment which basically means that the natural curve of the neck is maintained and supported. Orthopedic pillows work best as it provides extra support under the neck and has a deeper depression where the head lies.
Sleeping on your back is the best position as it lets the spine rest comfortably and also the individual doesn’t wake up with a sore back or neck. Placing pillows under the knee and lower back can provide greater support to the back.
Also sleeping on the side with individual’s knees pulled up slightly towards the chest is also a good option. If one is used to falling asleep on one’s stomach, it is best to place a pillow under the hips for support.
Perfect your posture
The best chair for preventing neck strain and back pain is one with low back/ straight back support. Place the knees a bit higher than the hips while seated and prop the feet on a stool if needed.
If standing for prolonged time is required, make sure to keep your head up and stomach pulled in and do not slouch.
Strengthen neck muscles by doing sets of stretching exercises throughout the day such as the chin tuck which helps stretch the sub occipital and scalene muscles and strengthens the neck muscles. Also regular physical activity can help reduce muscle tension and inflammation. Exercises like knee to chest stretch, bridge and shoulder blades squeeze all help strengthen the back muscles and prevent back pain.
Several studies have revealed that chronic pain patients who have visited the doctor for pain management are smokers. Smoking is known to reduce the flow of blood (containing nutrients) to spinal discs hence smokers are more likely to develop chronic neck or back pain as compared to nonsmokers.
Stay well hydrated
Water plays a very crucial role in the health of an individual’s spine and back. The disc which lies between every 2 vertebrae is mostly made of water and as the day progresses; gravity ensures that the water is slowly squeezed out of these discs. Hence staying hydrated (ideally eight to ten glasses/day) is important to keep the discs strong and pliable.