While determining the cause of back pain can be complex, there are many different actions you can take to help relieve back pain or prevent it from getting worse. It's all about relieving stress, reducing strain, protecting your spine, and strengthening your muscles. Changing a few daily habits can help you maintain a healthy, pain-free back over time.
Sleep with a pillow under your knees
Sleeping on your back can put pressure on your spine. Elevating your legs slightly as you sleep can relieve this pressure on your back. You can cut this pressure in half by placing a pillow under your knees.
Exercise your core
The health benefits of exercise are well known. Regular strength training focused on your core muscles can help reduce the risk of back-related injuries, such as strains and muscle spasms. Try incorporating back and abdominal strengthening exercises into your workouts at least twice a week to develop a stronger, more flexible back.
Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake
Stronger bones can help prevent osteoporosis. This is one of the most common causes of back pain later in life, especially for women. Keep the bones in your spine strong by getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is found in:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin supplements
Vitamin D is found in:
- Fatty fish
- Egg yolks
- Beef liver
Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
Change your shoes
Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes to prevent back pain. They reduce the pressure on your back when you stand. Shoes with a heel of less than 1 inch are the best choice for your back.
Straighten your body
Good posture is more than just a way to look more presentable. It protects the intricate parts of your spine, keeping them healthy and functioning properly. Poor posture puts stress on your back and can change the structure of your spine. Avoid rounded shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways when standing.
Don't lie prone at your desk
When sitting in an office chair, use the same good posture techniques as when standing. Maintaining good posture and supporting your back while sitting is critical, especially if you do it for several hours a day. Choose a quality chair that provides solid support for your lower back and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit down.
Whether you're at an office party or happy hour at a bar, avoid sitting or standing in one place in an awkward position. Move around the room to avoid putting pressure on your spine, which can happen if you stand in one place for too long.
Put out your cigarettes
We all know that smoking is a serious health risk, and that smokers are also more likely to experience back pain than non-smokers. One reason for this is that nicotine restricts blood flow to the discs in the spine. This can cause them to dry out, rupture or break. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which leads to less nutrition for the muscles and tendons in the back. An unhealthy, weakened back is more susceptible to accidental strains and pulls, leading to back pain.
Lighten your load
Improper or heavy lifting is a common cause of back pain, but it doesn't just happen to people who lift heavy boxes at work. Carrying a bulky laptop bag, suitcase, camera or bag of groceries can also put pressure on your back. Whenever possible, take some of the weight off your shoulders by reducing the amount you carry, distributing the weight to the sides of your body, or shifting the weight from shoulder to shoulder. Consider using a rolling cart or a bag with wheels for heavier loads, such as bags of groceries or boxes of documents.
Standing, sitting or lying in one place for long periods of time is not healthy for your back. Just getting up, walking around and doing some simple stretches can help relieve the stress of the day. This will help improve the blood circulation in your back. It can also relieve any strains or pains that occur due to inactivity.