Simple Lifestyle Changes That Prevent Back Pain
About four out of five Americans suffered back pain at a point in their lives. It can take a lot of shapes, but lower back pain is the most common. Fortunately, there are many simple lifestyle changes you can do to avoid a painful back.
Daytime Lifestyle Changes That Prevent Back Pain
1. Maintain healthy body weight. Being overweight strains your back and disrupts your balance. Abdominal fat is especially problematic. Spot reducing is a myth but your midsection will usually slim down along with the rest of your body when you lose excess pounds.
2. Eat more calcium. Strong bones help protect you from osteoporosis, a leading cause of back pain, especially for women. Eat your yogurt and leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale.
3. Follow safety guidelines at work. Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injury. Talk to your employer about job design features that will make you productive and safe.
4. Practice good posture. Make a habit of pressing the lower abdomen to your spine. Hold your head up.
5. Exercise regularly. Yoga is a great way to improve your posture and flexibility and strengthen your muscles. Any physical activity can help combat inflammation by increasing the flow of blood and nutrients into your back.
6. Sit correctly. Try to use an adjustable chair that gives you all the support you need. Tap a pillow against your lower back if necessary. Keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Change position or take a brief walk frequently.
7. Lift safely. Bend your knees and lift with your feet to avoid putting the whole burden on your back. Transport heavy objects near your body. Get help if an object is too heavy to rise alone.
8. Dress comfortably. Stiletto heels and heavy bags can cause knee and back pain. So can overstuffing your pockets or wearing anything two sizes too small. Enjoy dressing for special occasions but make sure your daily wardrobe allows a full range of movements and your tote bag stays less than 10% of your body weight.
Nighttime Lifestyle Changes That Prevent Back Pain
1. Select the right mattress for you. A moderately firm mattress usually works best because it adapts to the natural curves of your spine. If you have a firm mattress, an inch or two of padding on top may help.
2. Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your back is also good. Stick a small pillow under your knees to maintain the curve in your lower back.
3. Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your side with your knees slightly folding helps protect your back. Even better, put a small pillow between the knees to keep the hips aligned.
4. Stop sleeping on your stomach. Lying on your stomach puts extra stress on your back. To break the habit, lie on your side and use pillows that will make it harder to roll over.
5. Avoid alcohol. You may fall asleep faster by drinking alcohol but it impairs the quality of your sleep and you’re more likely to wake up with aches and pains. Some prescription medications may also interfere with sleep.
6. Apply heat. A heat pack is an easy and safe way to keep a little ache from growing into a big one. Get a hot water bottle or a pack that you can microwave and apply to any spot that needs a little extra care.
It’s important to see a doctor if you feel any numbness or tingling, or if you experience severe or chronic pain. For most backaches, these self-help techniques will give you effective relief and keep the pain from coming back.