The back takes a lot of strain. Everyday activities like carrying shopping, cleaning, or even standing or sitting for too long can have a detrimental effect on your spinal health. The more strain you put on your spine and the muscles surrounding it, the more vulnerable it becomes to damage, ranging from a pulled muscle or a herniated disc.
Fixing these problems can be a painful and time consuming process, so paying close attention to your back health could save you a lot of grief and discomfort. By following the straightforward suggestions from the team at Fornham Chiropractic Clinic in Bury St Edmunds you can ensure your back remains aligned, pain-free and functional, allowing you to live a life unhampered by pain.
Bend with your knees, not your back
We’ve heard this age-old advice before, but it is important to bear in mind. Before bending down, spread your feet shoulder width apart, then bend with your knees, rather than with the back from the hips. This moves the weight and pressure from your lower back to your thighs, preventing any nasty injuries.
Any form of exercise, from a gym session to a walk with the dog, strengthens the muscles of the back, therefore making them less liable to seize up or tear. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle often have back complaints because sitting or lying for long periods can reduce mobility and cause muscle fibres to shorten over time.
Full body exercise, like swimming, is particularly good for exercising the large amount of muscles found in the back. Just be sure to warm up and cool down properly before and after engaging in any exercise.
Maintain good posture
Every now and then, stop and assess how you are sitting or standing. Avoid slumping or hunching, keeping your spine in a neutral position.
Take care with heavy lifting
Every time heavy objects are lifted, the lift should be planned. Consider where the object, whether it’s a box or heavy shopping bags, is going to be placed. Make sure the path to this location isn’t obstructed and keep the load as close to the waist as possible so as to put as little pressure on the back as possible. Both arms should be carrying a roughly equal weight to keep the back level, and for this same reason you should never twist around from the back when carrying a heavy object. It is important that you know your limits too. If in doubt, get someone (or something, like handling aids) to assist you.
Stop bad habits like smoking
Smoking is even worse for your health than you might realise. It is thought that smoking reduces the amount of oxygen to the disks between the vertebrae of the spine, which causes them to degenerate.
Lose excess weight
Carrying unnecessary weight puts extra strain on your muscles as well as your spinal joints. A healthy diet will reduce pain and discomfort, and improve mobility, thereby increasing the amount of physical activity you can engage in.
Take breaks from sitting
Lots of us have sedentary jobs where we have to sit at desks for hours at a time. Break up these prolonged periods of inactivity with a short walk or stretch every thirty minutes.
Check your bed
There is a common misconception that a firm mattress will improve a bad back. In fact, finding the right mattress for your body is like finding the right pair of jeans; there is no one size fits all. Check that your bed provides the right level of support for your weight and build.
Practise relaxation and breathing techniques
Stress puts the body into ‘fight or flight’ mode, causing the muscles to contract in preparation for imminent confrontation. If you have a stressful lifestyle, this state of constant tightness will eventually lead to more chronic problems if left unaddressed.
Putting aside time for relaxation, particularly breathing exercises to promote oxygen circulation, will loosen muscles and improve your overall wellbeing