Every day, millions of people are affected with back pain, and beyond living with the pain itself, a poor spine health can diminish your quality of life, causing you to miss work and social activities that you enjoy and preventing you from being able to accomplish even simple, everyday tasks.
Taking the time to care for your back will not only help to reduce future pain and aches, but can also prove to be effective in reducing everyday muscle tension and stress. Common causes of back pain can be putting on the wrong shoes, bad postures, or remaining too stationary. Helpful habitual exercises can include traditional exercises like squats or weight training for added strength building. Practices like yoga and pilates can be used to help loosen and strengthen the spine along with resistance training. For everyday discomfort, the use of wraps, icy-hot, or heating pads can be utilized as therapeutic measures to relieve minor aches.
10 Ways To Increase Your Spine Health
Strengthen Your Core
The use of basic stabilization exercises can be used to aid low back pain relief and help strengthen back muscles to avoid the risk of disc tears. Strong back muscles can be beneficial in decreasing lumbar stress and pelvis pain. These practices for strengthening are only recommended for healthy tissue with dismal signs of stress. If you are experiencing back pain, it is recommended to consult a specialist before engaging in self-induced treatments in order to avoid further tear or accelerated damage. Although stretching exercises and gentle yoga can be repeated daily, strengthening exercises should be handled with care allowing for rest periods to allow the body to rebuild and replenish. Look for exercises that target abdominal muscle strengthening to achieve flexibility, strength, and stability.
2. Stretch Often
Try simple yoga poses like downward dog, upward dog, or child’s pose. Downward dog will open your chest and stretch out the length of your back while the upwards dog will strengthen and target stretching your lower back. For spine strengthening stretches, try lying on your back with your knees bent a shoulder-width apart. If possible, inhale and grab your knees while gently rocking to roll out your back. Try flipping onto your stomach and repeat a similar concept by grabbing your feet or ankles and gently lifting your arms and legs. Hold for a few seconds and gently release.
Meditating is a good tool for practicing elongating your spine through good posture. Reducing your stress level is also a core function of meditation that can lead to improved mood and productivity along with less chronic pain.
4. Wear Supportive Shoes
High heels have shown to cause strain on the back by readjusting the body’s natural alignment. Whether you’re walking for exercise or just to get where you’re going, the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine and body remain in alignment. Aside from heels, your footwear should fit snug but not overly tight and provide support when possible.
5. Sleep Well
Be sure to choose a mattress that will help decrease pain and stiffness. Find the right mattress support for you to relieve stress and ensure a full night’s rest. Search for a mattress with back support and understand the anatomy of a mattress for identifying the best choice for your body. A mattress that is too firm can cause aches and pains whereas a medium-firm mattress can allow a slight depression for the body to comfortably sink and fit to the mattress. A sagging mattress is a key sign of a needed replacement. However, a firm mattress can be softened with the use of a mattress pad.
6. Practice Good Posture
Poor posture is a significant contributor to back pain. Simple solutions like standing up straight to align your ears, shoulders, and hips will keep your spine healthy and pain-free. Standing up straight with your ears over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hip joints, and your hip joints over your ankles will help keep your healthy pain-free. Physical stress on the body can also be a significant source of pain, and can also manifest as mental stress. Aside from soreness and pain, poor posture can lead to poor circulation, negative mood, fatigue, and poor digestion.
7. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is important to maintaining soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in joints. Our intervertebral (spinal) disks are vulnerable to loss of hydration and can begin to lose height.c As spinal disks begin to shrink, you become more susceptible to painful disk conditions. Herniated disks, also known as slipped or ruptured disks, occur when the loss of fluid causes the disks to become brittle and eventually slip out of place.
8. Lift Carefully
If you like you pump iron, be sure to be safe when you lift weights. Aside from lifting at the gym, lifting heavy everyday objects like repositioning you couch can cause stress on your joints and your back without proper form and care. Consider using a brace when doing heavy lifting to better support your back and prevent painful twists or strains.
9. Get A Massage
Do you know that massage has a number of therapeutic benefits in addition to general stress relief? A good massage will help increase endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller—in your bloodstream, which in turn may allow you cut back on pain medications. Massage can also encourage blood flow, which in turn brings healing nutrients to the affected area and can speed healing.
10. Pay attention to your Spine Health
Don’t ignore spinal problems or pain. Although it’s common to have back pain once in a while, it can indicate a more serious problem. Left untreated, problems with your spine can worsen and become quite serious. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t overdo it at the gym or at work, or self-medicate to relieve symptoms. Seek medical care to learn about your spine and the correct treatment for your symptoms.