It’s true that you only have one back. After an injury or as we age, back pain can become unbearable, especially without the right care. At Proactive Chiropractic, we find proper care and prevention crucial to your recovery from injury and the strengthening of your back and body.
A few simple changes to your daily lifestyle can have a positive effect on your back’s overall health and resistance to injury. Let’s learn more about these changes, how you can implement them and what you can expect.
Your body’s posture is your body’s alignment and positioning and how it contrasts with gravity. Good posture is when the force of gravity is well distributed through our body, preventing stress on our muscles and ligaments. Good posture improves our breathing, circulation and our digestion. It keeps our bones and joints in the best alignment. Most importantly, it helps us keep our spine healthy.
The American Chiropractic Association outlines these tips to help us maintain our posture:
Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest if they do not reach the floor. Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of the seat you are in. Adjust your backrest to support your low to mid-back and relax your shoulders, keeping your forearms parallel to the ground.
Bear most of your weight on the balls of your feet. Keep your knees slightly bent and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Let your arms hand naturally. Always stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled back.
First, find a mattress that is right for your body and always sleep with a pillow. Avoid sleeping on your stomach if at all possible. For back pain, try sleeping on your side or back.
Carrying around extra body weight places a strain on your back muscles and ligaments causing pain. Often, extra weight is carried around the core or the midsection, causing your pelvis to tilt forward, resulting in lower to midsection backaches.
The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to exercise and eat a balanced and healthy diet. Stretching, aerobics and simple walking can have a positive effect on your lifestyle and your excess weight. Low-calorie diets with high-fiber and low fat are the best option for losing weight slowly or maintaining your current healthy weight.
Exercising regularly will keep your body in shape and reduce stress on vital organs and muscles, especially those in your back. Start by doing simple exercises such as back extensions and sit-ups that work your abdomen.
Stretching is also great for your back muscles, especially after sitting for long periods of time or before a workout. Toe touches, knee holds and simple side-to-side neck stretches can ease the tension and pain throughout your back and shoulders.
Another form of exercise for relieving pain and tension is yoga. Yoga relieves chronic back pain, reduces stress and anxiety, increase flexibility and improves your strength and endurance. Plus, yoga is great for meditation and relieving a busy mind.
A surefire way to injure your back is through improper lifting. Any object, whether large or small, has the ability to cause muscle strain and pull. When lifting any object, follow these steps to ensure your safety:
The mattress that you sleep on each night has a direct effect on your back’s health. Your posture as you sleep is just as important as your posture during the day. It is critical to choose the right mattress that supports your body the right way.
Don’t just settle for less when purchasing a new mattress. The key to good health is plenty of sleep which is directly impacted by what type of mattress you sleep on each night.
Whether you are looking for a new office chair or a new recliner, it is best to understand how they will affect your back. Sitting for prolonged periods of time will lead to muscle and ligament strain. Combat this with a chair that supports your posture.
An office chair should have an adjustable backrest and allow your feet to rest comfortably on the floor. Its armrests should be close to your body and arm height should be adjustable to match the height of the desk.
For chairs inside of your home—such as recliners—first consider your needs. If you suffer from chronic back pain, lifting recliners that assist you with standing and leaning are great options. Massaging recliners which use heat to relax muscles are also great to have in your home. Whatever you choose, make sure your chair provides lumbar support and allows you to lean back at a slight angle to reduce strain on the discs in your back.
Whether you work in an office and sit for long periods of time or you stand on your feet all day, work can put a lot of strain on your back. Work is also a source of many injuries from improper lifting and bad posture.
While at work, make sure you take time to stretch. If you sit at a desk, take a few moments to move your neck from side-to-side and do a few arm circles, or stand up and do a few toe touches to wake your back up. Sitting at your desk a bit differently can improve back pain as well. Adding lumbar support to your chair and standing up to regularly stretch will alleviate some of your symptoms.
If you are on your feet, make sure you are taking adequate breaks to sit and rest. Remember your posture as you sit and make sure you have a comfortable chair to relax into. Keep in mind the proper lifting practices if you lift objects during the day to protect your back from injury.
During pregnancy, most moms-to-be experience back pain at some point. Your center of gravity changes, you gain weight and your hormones will relax your ligaments, especially around your pelvis. During pregnancy, it is important to take care of your back to avoid serious injury that will last long after the birth of your child.
Start by maintaining good posture and avoid heeled shoes. High-heels increase your risk of falling by shifting you forward. Use a pregnancy pillow to sleep on your side, keeping your knees a distance apart. If pain does occur, try using heat or cold to ease the pain or enjoy a nice prenatal massage.
Don’t forget to do some light exercise such as walking or yoga to keep your muscles loose and your joints working properly. Most importantly, listen to your body and understand its limits. During pregnancy, don’t push yourself too hard and take the needed time to rest.
No matter where you are, on the job or at home, always remember that your body has limits. Don’t overdo it. Listen to your body for signs including discomfort and pain that may warn you of impending injury that you can prevent.
It is also important to understand your pain limits and what you can tolerate comfortably. If your back pain is affecting your quality of life and keeping you from the things you enjoy, it is time to seek out professional care.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, “The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles.” Allowing someone to “crack your back” or attempt to manipulate your back without the proper training can result in a temporary fix that may cause long-term harm.
Aggravated spinal alignment and joints from improper adjustment can lead to the development of scar tissue due to a breakdown of delicate joint and muscle tissue. This scar tissue can reduce your flexibility by up to 60% and lead to further injury in the future.
It is best to seek out a professionally trained chiropractor for all of your back pain concerns and adjustment needs. Give our team at Proactive Chiropractic a call today at 704-626-1837 or send us a quick message online. We are here to get you back to feeling like yourself again, relieved of agonizing back pain.