Back pain can slow you down and make every daily activity a lot more painful! Not only will you be stiff and sore, but you can feel a twinge running down your spine every time you move. The good news is that you can prevent and avoid back pain with just a few simple changes to your daily life. Here are the secrets to helping you keep your back healthy and pain-free:
Stretch it Out
One of the best tips to help you avoid back pain is to spend more time stretching—not just your spine, but your hips, legs, and knees as well. Often, when you have mobility issues in your lower body joints, your spine compensates, which can lead to a much higher risk of pain and injury. By stretching out your lower body, you can help to encourage proper range of motion and mobility, thereby helping your hips and knees do the work without the need for your spine to engage.
Train Your Back
Your back muscles are precisely that: muscles. Training them will make them stronger and thereby more easily able to adapt to your daily stressors. You should put in real time at the gym working on your lower back, doing exercises that focus on those spinal erector muscles. The rest of your core muscles (abs and obliques) also deserve a bit more TLC as well. It’s vital that you pay extra attention to your core muscles every day so you can keep your back strong.
Stand Up and Move Around
Sitting is one of the worst things you can do if you want a healthy back. Sitting places strain on your lower back, and it can actually reduce the mobility in your spine and hips. The key is to stand up and move around as often as you can—every 20 minutes is ideal, but no less than once every 60 minutes. Talk a walk, do a few stretches, or try a quick workout that engages your core. The more you move throughout the day, the more you encourage your spine to move with you.
Start the Day Off Active
If you want to encourage better spinal mobility, start your day off by doing something active: shoveling your driveway, taking out the trash, walking the dog, playing a few minutes of basketball, or taking a jog around the block. The more active you are first thing in the morning, the more you will limber up that spine and wake up all of your joints.
Find a Good Mattress
Yes, a good mattress is the key to a healthier back! Too much sag in the mattress, and your spine will bend and twist as you sleep. Too firm, and you can place excess pressure on your joints and restrict blood flow. Find a mattress that has just the right amount of give so you’re comfortable without letting the mattress sag. And make sure to use pillows that not only support your neck, but that keep your hips and spine aligned all night long.
Rock those Ergonomics
If you spend all day sitting in a chair, it’s critical that you make your setup as ergonomic as possible. That always starts with an ergonomic chair, which offers good lumbar support and helps you find the most comfortable position to work in. Then, adjust the height of your chair relative to the height of your desk. You want your keyboard to be below elbow height, with the monitor positioned at eye level. Do that, and you’ll have a much better posture all day long!