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A healthy spine is often overlooked, but it is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.
Approximately 80-90% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some stage during their lifetime. If you are overweight or obese, smoke, lift heavy objects, or have had a previous episode of back pain, you will more than likely have back pain at some stage.
It’s imperative for you to try to keep your spine as healthy as possible. Seek out simple posture, lifting, and healthy lifestyle guidelines which can help you keep your back in good shape. So, let’s dive straight in and go over 10 tips to make sure you have a healthy spine.
10 Tips for a Healthy Spine
When standing, keep one foot marginally in front of the other, bending at the knees slightly. It will help to remove the pressure off your lower back. Bending forward at the waist for an extended time is definitely out. If you do this, the muscles in your low back become de-conditioned in this position, leading inevitably to pain.
When doing any sort of lifting, do not twist your body. Twisting is a dangerous movement for your spine, particularly during lifting. Pushing the item is preferable to pulling if it is too heavy to lift. Do not use your back or upper body to push the item, use your legs.
Hold your head up and back straight, whilst keeping your knees just higher than your hips. Avoid rolling your shoulders forward. Preserve the natural curve in your low back.
- Reaching and Bending
When reaching for something above shoulder height, use a stool to stand on. You may hurt your mid-back and neck if you strain to reach these items. It can also bring on
shoulder problems. Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items off the floor or a table. Lift with your legs, not your back.
When carrying objects, particularly if they are heavy, keep them close to your body.
Do not attempt to carry more than you can manage. Get someone to help you.
- Healthy Diet and Exercise
Extra weight puts undue strain on your spine. Keep within 4.5kgs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back. “Beer belly” is one of the worst offenders, as it puts unwanted pressure on the soft tissue and muscles in your low back. Therefore reduce weight by eating a sensible diet and exercising regularly.
Don’t forget, if you have a health condition, it is imperative to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Sleeping on your back puts approximately 22.5kgs of pressure on your spine. Sleeping with a pillow under your knees while lying on your back relieves the pressure on your spine approximately by half. Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may also reduce the pressure on your back. If you feel any discomfort in your spine, change your position before attempting sleep. Pay attention to your body and it will tell you which position it prefers.
- Quit Smoking
Smokers will experience more spine pain than those who do not smoke, and will heal more slowly when they have an episode of back pain. The chemicals in tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in and around your spine, so the moral of the story here is – don’t smoke.
- Get the correct furniture
So called “comfortable chairs” may not be quite so comfortable. They may be too low, too soft and the seat too long with a rounded back. Choose a supportive chair, which allows you to sit upright with your feet flat in front of you. A comfortable bed is also imperative. They can be too hard. The bed base needs to be firm and the mattress should mould to the contours of your body, but firm enough to support you in the right places.
- Consult your Chiropractor
If you have a long-term problem, whether it be minor or incapacitating, or a recurring one, then chiropractic treatment may help. Chiropractors can usually give you marked relief from pain and discomfort and improve quality of life as well as decreasing the likelihood of a recurrence.
While following these tips is no guarantee that you will be free from back pain completely, it may lessen your chance of acquiring it. These simple steps will help you keep your spine in good shape.