At least 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and a full half of working Americans acknowledge suffering symptoms of back pain each year. That’s according to a survey of back pain statistics by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). According to the ACA, most causes of back pain aren’t serious medical conditions, but rather are the result of overuse, poor posture, obesity, psychological stress, or arthritis.
If you’re suffering from back pain, there is help—and you probably won’t need major surgery to fix it. Here are 5 simple tips for a healthy back.
5 Simple Tips for a Healthy Back
When talking about tips for a healthy back, we have to talk about exercising. Exercising is the most important one from all the tips for a healthy back. Exercising and stretching the muscles in your back every day can go a long way toward minimizing back pain. Swimming, simple back stretches or yoga postures, and weight lifting exercises can all help stabilize your back and improve your core strength. A strong back is a healthy back. If you work at a desk, take a few minutes out of each hour to stretch and move. If you have a more physical job, be sure to lift with your legs and get assistance to lift the heaviest objects.
2. Get a New Mattress
Proper mattress is another key for a healthy back. A new mattress by itself may be enough to minimize or even eradicate your back pain. You’ll probably want a medium-soft mattress if you sleep on your side, a medium-firm mattress if you sleep on your back or stomach. You spend roughly 1/3 of each day on your mattress, and it’s at a time when your body is most vulnerable to the aches and pains that come from misalignment and lack of movement. Choose a mattress that softly supports your body and encourages proper spinal alignment while relieving painful pressure points.
3. Pay Attention to Your Posture
Good posture becomes easier as your back muscles become stronger, but it takes some concerted effort at first. Proper posture doesn’t equal a ramrod-straight back; rather, you should allow your back’s natural curves while engaging your abs and rolling your shoulders back. Let your head “float” gently on top. When you stand still (waiting in line, for example) avoid the temptation to stick one hip out and rest your weight on one leg. Instead, put one foot slightly forward of the other and bend your legs just a bit to take the pressure off the lower back.
4. Control Your Weight
Weight gain can adversely affect your back. For many people, proper weight is the key to a healthy back. Stay within 10 lbs of your ideal weight to take the strain off of your spine. If you need to lose weight, incorporate back exercises into your workout routine for a double-positive.
5. Pay Attention to Your Body!
If something hurts, take a break or stop the activity altogether. Talk to your doctor about the things that cause you pain; there may be specific exercises you can do to improve affected muscle groups, or adjustments your chiropractor can make to help heal your pain.
If all else fails, see your doctor or chiropractor… but always get a second opinion before agreeing to surgical procedures! Your spine is a phenomenally complex piece of equipment, and putting it back together is no easy task. Go for surgery only after you’ve tried more conservative measures for several months without any change. Exercise, weight management, proper posture, a good mattress, and a little common sense will go a long way to fixing many causes of low back pain.
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Author Bio: Amber Merton is a health and fitness enthusiast and writes about better health and sleep for the latex mattress manufacturer, www.Plushbeds.com.
Photo: lululemon athletic