Although determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, there are many different actions you can take to help alleviate your back pain or prevent it from getting worse. It's all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting your spine, and strengthening your muscles. Changing a few daily habits can help you maintain a healthy, pain-free back for a long time.
Pillow under your knees
Sleeping on your back puts pressure on your spine. Elevating your legs slightly relieves this pressure on your back as you sleep. You can cut that pressure in half by placing a pillow under your knees.
Work your core
The numerous health benefits of exercise are well-known. A regular strength-training routine that focuses on your core muscles can help reduce your risk of back-related injuries, such as strains and muscle spasms. Try incorporating back and abdominal strengthening exercises into your workout at least two times per week to develop a stronger, more flexible back.
Calcium and vitamin D
Strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis. It’s one of the most common causes of back pain later in life, particularly for women. Keep the bones in your spine strong by consuming plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is in:
- leafy greens
- vitamin supplements
Vitamin D is in:
- fatty fish
- egg yolks
- beef liver
Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes to prevent back pain. They reduce the strain on your back while standing. Shoes with less than a 1-inch heel are the best bet for your back.
Good posture isn't just a way to look more proper. It protects the intricate pieces of your spine to keep them healthy and functioning properly. Bad posture puts strain and stress on your back and can change the architecture of your spine. Avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways when standing.
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques you use when standing. It’s critical to keep good posture and support your back when sitting down, especially if you do it for several hours per day. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support for your lower back, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.
Whether you’re at an office party or a bar for happy hour, avoid sitting in an awkward position or standing in one place. Move around the room to avoid putting pressure on your spine, which can happen if you stand in one place for too long.
We all know smoking is a serious health risk, and smokers are also more likely to experience back pain than nonsmokers. One reason for this is that nicotine restricts blood flow to the disks in the spine. This can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the muscles and tendons in the back. An unhealthy, weak back is more vulnerable to accidental strains and pulls that cause back pain.
Lighten your load
Improper or heavy lifting is a common cause of back pain, but it doesn't only happen to people who lift heavy boxes on the job. Carrying a bulky laptop bag, suitcase, camera, or a load of groceries can also cause a strain on your back. Whenever possible, take some weight off your shoulders by carrying less, distributing the weight to both sides of your body, or shifting the weight from shoulder to shoulder. Consider using a rolling cart or bag with wheels for heavier loads like bags of groceries or boxes of files.
Standing, sitting, or lying down in one place for an extended amount of time isn’t healthy for your back. Relieve the strain of the day whenever you can by getting up, walking around, and doing some simple stretches. This will help improve circulation to your back. It can also ease any strains or aches that occur due to inactivity.