Back pain affects millions of people worldwide, and is one of the most common reasons for a visit to the doctor. Aside from the pan, this condition can make our lives miserable and render us incapable of accomplishing even simple, routine activities. Here are 9 tips to maintain a healthy spine and a strong back:
- Maintain a good posture: Be it while sitting or standing, keep your back straight. Avoid slopping frontwards or leaning excessively into the chair while sitting. While standing, stand tall in a balanced way and ensure your ear, middle shoulder, hip, mid knee and ankle are aligned. Correct posture is the first and the most important step we can follow to prevent most of the back issues.
- Sleep Well: A good posture is essential not just while you’re awake, but even whilst sleeping. Sleeping on your stomach strains your spine. Sleeping sideways, on the other hand, can help prevent sleep apnea symptoms and help in a restful sleep. It is important to have proper lumbar support by having a supportive mattress and a pillow which ensures your neck is not strained.
- Exercise your core: The core, consisting of your abdominal and lower back muscles, should be strong in order to adequately support your spine. An exercise routine that focuses on stretching the spinal tissues and muscles can help keep them supple and healthy, and building strength in other muscle groups like the back and the legs helps ease the pressure on the spine, reducing the likelihood of sustaining spine injuries.
- Proper techniques while lifting weights: Poor form and/or incorrect posture when lifting weights can cause spinal joints to lock or even rupture, causing intense pain that can take months to heal. It is advisable to consult an expert, such as a licensed fitness trainer, and also research correct techniques for lifting exercises before heading to the gym. When lifting heavy objects, kneel to lift the object and use the legs to lift rather than the back.
- Don’t be stationary: Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time increases the risk of back ache. Get up and move around frequently and stretch your neck and back regularly to keep them flexible and to prevent them from becoming tight.
- Eat Well: Foods rich in protein and calcium, such as meat, beans, yogurt, milk etc. can help strengthen the bones and muscles and keep them flexible. Avoid high-calorie and high-fat foods that can lead to weight gain and put pressure on the spine. Instead, consume whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
- Drink enough water: Loss of water can make you more susceptible to painful disc conditions. Inadequate water consumption can lead to herniated or slipped disks, which occur when the loss of fluid causes the discs to become brittle and slip out of place. Therefore, take care to drink sufficient amounts of water every day and stay hydrated, always.
- Get a massage: A good massage is very beneficial, as it helps boost the endorphins levels in the bloodstream, which are the body’s natural painkillers. Massaging helps improve the blood flow, which promotes the circulation of nutrients and speed the healing process.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight and obese naturally puts more strain on your muscles, ligaments and tendons, especially in your back. Maintain a healthy height-to-weight ratio by adopting a combination of healthy diet and exercise.