Back pain is a serious burden that can limit your mobility while interfering with your work and daily activities in the process. According to the Global Burden of Disease, it’s the world’s leading cause of disability. When your back hurts, you may struggle to perform otherwise normal tasks like bending over to tie your shoes or picking up objects. The good news is that you can avoid back pain by following a few simple tips.
1- Lift With Your Legs
Whether you’re lifting a 50-pound box or gallon of milk, you should lift with your legs and not your back. Many people instinctively lift objects by bending their back. While this may seem harmless, it bends the spine beyond its natural curvature, thus increasing the risk of pain back and other related problems. The right way is to lift is to bend your knees while keeping your spine straight, at which point you can grab and raise the item.
2- Maintain Proper Posture
As explained by ABC News, bad posture is a contributing factor to back pain. If you constantly slouch when walking, for instance, your spinal extensor and hip flexor muscles will become weaker and your spinal ligaments more loose. To protect against back pain, you must learn to carry your body in a natural manner that minimizes stress on the spine. When standing, you should plant the weight of your body on the balls of your feet while lifting your chest and tucking in your stomach.
3- Sleep on Your Back or Side
If you sleep on your stomach, you should consider an alternative position. While effective at reducing snoring, sleeping on your stomach can cause back pain by bending your spine. Being that most of a person’s body weight is found in his or her torso, sleeping on your stomach essentially pulls down your spine. You may wake the following morning with pain and stiffness in your back.
Instead of sleeping on your stomach, try sleeping on your side or back. These positions preserve your spin’s natural curvature while reducing the risk of back pain. You can even invest in a special body pillow to further promote a healthy night’s rest.
Statistics show that 80 percent of U.S. adults fall short of getting enough exercise. Unfortunately, these individuals are more likely to develop back pain than their physically active counterparts. Exercise promotes a healthy musculoskeletal system by triggering the formation of new muscle tissue and exchanging fluid between the spinal discs.
If you already suffer from back pain, choose light, low-intensity exercises to build muscle while minimizing stress on your spine. Swimming, for example, is arguably the best exercise for individuals suffering from back pain. When swimming, there’s little to no pressure placed on your joints or spine, allowing you to exercise without exposing your back to further injury.
5- Eat Healthy
Of course, the foods you eat will also affect your back health. Nearly one-third of U.S. adults are considered obese or overweight. This creates a myriad of health problems, including musculoskeletal system disorders (MSDs) like back pain. The increased weight stresses the spine and its supporting structures, increasing the risk of back pain. So, which foods should you eat? Avoid fatty and heavily processed foods and instead choose natural foods that are low in sodium, fat and sugar.
Most people will experience back pain during their life. When it persists for multiple consecutive days, it usually signals an underlying issue that must be addressed. By following the tips listed here, you can promote better spinal health.