The new year is off to a fast start and many of us made resolutions for 2020. Maybe you planned to get in shape or give up a bad habit. If you’re suffering from back pain, you can make a few simple changes in your lifestyle to help decrease or alleviate your pain. Here are some tips for a healthier back in 2020:
Exercise improves your health in many ways including the health of your spine. One cause of back pain is weakness in the “core” muscles that support the spine. These muscles are small and not as strong as the larger muscles, which is why they are so prone to injuries. Strengthening these muscles can help prevent back injuries.
Sit-ups, crunches and push-ups can help improve your core strength. Other options include stretching and yoga. Not only will these activities strengthen your core muscles, but they will also improve your flexibility, helping you be less susceptible to injuries.
As with any exercise regimen, check with your physician or spine specialist before you begin to ensure these exercises are safe for you.
Healthy Body Weight
Staying fit is crucial to all aspects of your health, including the health of your spine. When you’re carrying extra weight, especially around the torso, those small muscles around your spine have to work harder just to keep you upright. While our weight is something many of us struggle with, if you can maintain your ideal weight you can decrease your risk for back pain.
Proper Lifting Technique
Using proper lifting technique can help decrease back pain. Use the big, powerful muscles in your legs to lift, not the small muscles in your back. When you need to lift something, squat down until your hips are parallel to the object’s center of gravity. By doing so, you will force your leg muscles to do most of the work, allowing you to keep your back straight as you lift.
Drinking plenty of water will help prevent back pain by maintaining the size of the fluid-filled discs between your vertebrae. These discs are responsible for absorbing much of the shock your spine experiences during the day. If you are not properly hydrated, the discs can become smaller and offer less support to your spine. Over time this can lead to back pain.
Smoking affects your body in a number of negative ways, and stopping tobacco products may help prevent back pain. Smoking can lead to back pain by restricting the blood vessels, cutting off the blood supply to your cells. In order to stay healthy and heal quickly, your cells need a steady supply of oxygen and other materials, which they extract from the bloodstream. When you quit tobacco, your blood flow is restored and your cells become healthier. So if you do sustain an injury to your back, you may heal more quickly.
Of course, quitting smoking may be easier said than done. If this is one of your resolutions, please consult a physician who can recommend some options that will make it safer and easier for you to quit tobacco.
The physicians at Resurgens Spine Center hope you have a healthy 2020.