Prevent Back Pain: Lower the Risk By Following These Simple Tips
There are many leading causes of back pain, which can significantly impact your day-to-day life. Some examples include trauma from falls or accidents. But more often than not, it’s caused by ordinary movements such as twisting, bending to picking up objects, lifting and carrying heavy loads, or sitting for long hours at work without taking short breaks to stretch the back. Back pain is also caused by the wear and tear due to aging. All of these examples can lead to a lot of pain and eventually cause chronic symptoms over time. The great news is that a lot of back pain is preventable. How to prevent back pain is easy and only necessitates a few lifestyle changes that become natural over time.
Follow these simple tips to prevent back pain:
- A leading cause of back pain is being overweight and obesity. Extra weight from the abdominal section causes the body’s center of gravity to shift forward. This puts additional strain on back muscles. Maintain a healthy weight or at least 10 pounds or 5 kilos of your ideal weight depending on your height. Good eating habits will help maintain a healthy weight and keep back pain away. If you are a fan of spicy foods or fast food, try to limit this to at least once every 2 weeks or once a month. Research shows that a diet of fast food or spicy food strains the nervous system, and can cause back pain. A balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables with a substantial amount of lean protein, grains and dairy products helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and this relates to a healthier spine because all bodily systems relate to one another. People suffering from lower back pain may also have irregular bowel movements or irritated bowels. Eat healthy; your back will thank you for it.
- Exercise and maintaining a moderately active lifestyle helps prevent back pain. Muscles need movements. If you remain sedentary most of the time, simple movements such as picking up things on the floor or lifting a box can cause you to hurt your back and feel pain. Exercise also helps keep your joint fluid. It will also help you maintain your ideal weight, particularly in the mid section. Stay fit by engaging in aerobic exercises such as swimming, biking or walking. Combine these with back and core strengthening exercises, and yoga for stretching and flexibility.
- Kick the habit of smoking. Aside from being at risk for heart disease and cancer, smoking causes persistent back pain. Studies have shown that smoking can exacerbate back pain. Although it hasn’t been pinpointed why smoking causes back pain, one theory is that smoking makes the blood vessels narrower. Narrowed blood vessels lead to a smaller supply of nutrients and oxygen to the spine. This makes it more at risk to injuries and slower to heal.
- Stress and lack of sleep can cause back pain. Prevent back pain by lowering your stress level and get ample resting time. Stress causes your muscles to tense and the continuous tension from it can cause back pain. Not getting enough sleep exacerbates back pain as the back muscles and spine do not get enough resting time to heal. After work, try to get into relaxing activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi and deep breathing. Get some ample z’s, 6 to 8 hours ideally, to let your body repair itself. Your body needs this time to make the necessary repairs to your muscles, spine and neck. Sleep sideways and not flat on your back. The best position for sleeping is on the side with good support from pillows and your mattress.
- Maintain good posture while working. Make conscious effort of keeping your back straight, whether you are texting, sitting at your desk and computing for 6 to 8 hours. You may not realize the damage you are doing to your back muscles and spine when you slouch while working, texting or doing chores at home. Be conscious of keeping your back straight regardless of what you are doing to prevent back pain.
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Back pain can cause you sleepless nights, hours or days away from work, and not to mention, hundreds of dollars from medication, tests and doctor consultations. Prevent back pain by following the simple tips. If you make these impactful changes to your lifestyle your back will thank you later! For more information regarding back pain, be sure to check out our additional articles featured on our website.
About Author: Dr. Scott Gray
Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist specializing in sport, athletic, and back and neck injuries. He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. For more information on how to ease or overcome your injury, go to www.backinmotionsspt.com.