10 Tips to Prevent Back Pain

  1. Untitled design (3)Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
    • You’d be surprised how much your diet can impact your back pain.  Your muscles need protein and water to heal from, not only our day to day stressors, but add a work-out in there and you need to provide the sources your muscles need to recover and build stronger.
  2. Remain active
    • This can mean different things for different people and at different points in our lives but one things stays constant – our bodies were meant to move. When we don’t move, we don’t provide good circulation and nutrition to our muscles and joints which leads to muscle imbalances and breakdown of the muscle tissue.  Start slow and, if you don’t know how to progress, reach out to a specialist to help you.
  3. Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
    • Many decades ago, doctors would tell their patients to stay in bed when they were experiencing back pain.  Today we know better.  Movement heals. Bloodflow and circulation provide the nutrition muscles need to restore.  When you’re recovering, just be aware at some of the positions that might have started the problem and know what to avoid and what to do more of.
  4. Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities, such as gardening.
    • A good rule of thumb is to try to avoid forward bending for the first 20 minutes you get up in the morning.  This is when muscles are stiff and slow to react.
  5. Maintain proper posture.
    • We live in a world where car seats, airplane seats, office chairs and living room furniture, to name a few, are poorly fitting to most of us and push us into the very posture we are trying to avoid.  Consider an adaptive back support in addition to your generic seat and don’t forget to fit in changes in position, back bending and overhead reaching during the day to get out of your forward bent position during the day.
  6. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
    • The higher the heel, the more forward stress is placed on our backs, hips and knees. Watch how your shoes wear on the bottom to detect if you might have any asymmetry that could be creating extra stress along one side of your back.
  7. Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
    • Mattresses are very specific to each person and it is difficult to give advice on how to buy a good one.  Just remember, when we sleep on our sides, our upper and lower back tend to rotate in different directions and this can pinch down on one side of our back.  A body pillow is a good way to improve spinal alignment when sleeping on your sides.
  8.  Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
    • Lifing an object from the floor is usually one of the obvious triggers to low back pain but it is not only the bending forward but often the twisting that comes in combination with it. Try to ensure that your hips are always facing the object you’re lifting and, when possible, lift something off an waist- height surface like a counter instead of placing things down and picking them up from the floor.
  9. Quit Smoking
    • Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
  10. Look at your work environment
    • We often spend more hours at our work than we do at home so it makes sense that many of our aches and pains come from how we are sitting and working at work.  Make sure that your chair and your desk are a good fit for you.  Are your monitors directly in front of you?  Can you work with your arms hanging comfortably by your side when you type?  If not, you may be creating your own problems simply by your body postures.  Ergonomists, like those with WorkWise Ergonomics, will provide you with home and work assessments to get you back on track and avoid the common pitfalls that send you into painful conditions.

For more information, feel free to reach out to danielle@backbonecushion.com to discuss how you can improve your posture and decrease your pain today.

 

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