There’s that saying ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ It may seem cliched, but it’s totally true especially when it comes to the health of your back. The spine, particularly the lumbar or lower region, undergoes tremendous stress every day. Sitting, standing, bending, running and jumping all place heavy strain and make it prone to injuries like muscle sprains and herniated discs.
While there’s no 100 percent prevention against this, practicing healthy habits each day can lessen the stress and make the muscles supporting the spine stronger. Nearly 80 percent of Americans have trouble with their backs at some point in their lives. It’s a huge majority so it’s important to do all you can to keep it from happening. Here are a few simple habits everyone can cultivate to keep their back healthy and injury-free.
Sitting in one position for a long time places a lot of pressure on the muscles and discs of your back. Stretching frequently relieves this pressure and helps blood circulate better. You should start your day with a relaxing stretch by extending your arms over your head and lengthening your legs. Over the course of the day, do simple stretches to keep your back flexible and supple. Standing with palms on the lower back and gently bending backward is one example. Pulling the shoulders back and gently arching the back with hands clasped behind you is another.
Who doesn’t love a toned tummy? It looks great and feels even better. But, a toned core is more than just about appearance. It keeps the muscles strong and reduces the risk of back injuries. It makes doing different activities easier and improves mobility. There are different core exercises you can do such as planks, dead bugs, v-sits, bicycle crunches, and bridges. The key is to start slow and work your way to more complex exercises.
High heels look stunning, but they can spell doom for your body. They force the lower part of the body to lean forward and cause the s-curve in the spine to flatten. They also change your gait. With so much potential for injury, it makes sense that high heels should be worn only occasionally and not for long. Opt for low-heeled shoes for everyday wear as they distribute weight evenly and keep the spine in its natural position.
You know the importance of a balanced diet but did you know that certain foods can keep your spine healthy? Dark leafy greens, legumes, fish, and dairy, contain calcium that strengthens bones while magnesium-rich items like seeds, nuts, bananas, and whole grains maintain nerve function. You should also get enough vitamin D3 so that your body is able to absorb calcium. Proteins and other vitamins like C and K2 are also necessary for bone health and collagen formation. You can get them from meat, fruits, and eggs.
Smoking does a number on the body including the back. It increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, which is a condition where bones become brittle and weak. It also prevents blood from carrying nutrients to the spinal discs and makes them dry out. If you do smoke, make the decision to quit.
The bag you carry can mean the difference between back pain and none of it. What you want is a bag whose weight is properly distributed and not concentrated on one part of the body. Backpacks and messenger bags with wide adjustable straps that go across the body are good choices. Every so often, organize your bag so that you’re only carrying essentials and not unnecessary weight.
Physical activity keeps the spine healthy by increasing circulation and working the muscles. Jog, swim, bike, take the stairs, walk the dog, walk instead of drive, garden, house clean – there are many ways to keep active and prevent the back from getting stiff and painful.
The way you sleep can impact your back. It determines how much stress is placed on the spine and whether the natural ‘s’ shape is maintained. The best choice is sleeping on the back as there’s very little pressure on the head, neck, and spine. However, if you have sleep apnea or are prone to snoring, sleeping on the side is a better option. Sleeping on the stomach is the least healthy as it strains the lower back and the neck.
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The surface on which you sleep can also be the cause or prevention of back pain. A mattress that is too firm or too soft can do a lot of harm so it’s important to use one that’s meant to prevent back pain. Nuvanna is the best mattress for back pain as it was created with this in mind. It’s designed by a mattress scientist with over 20 years of experience and features three innovative layers that keep your back healthy and help you sleep better. The top layer is a cooling gel layer that absorbs body heat and disperses it to keep you cool. The middle layer isolates motion and prevents you from being disturbed by your partner’s movements. The bottom layer uses Nuvanna’s Progressive Support System that supports the spine and prevents you from sinking in.
Your back is designed to withstand a lot of strain, but there’s only so much it can tolerate. Keeping it strong and flexible by cultivating a few simple habits can make a world of difference to how well it serves you. As it is, age gradually robs spinal discs of moisture and causes the spinal column to narrow. You shouldn’t be adding to these worries! Instead of waiting for an injury to happen, take steps to prevent it in the first place.