Back pain is one of the most common health issues. In fact, 4 out of 5 people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. It is one of the leading reasons behind people missing work. Back pain may be due to accident or injury but in most cases, it occurs due to people’s failure to do everyday activities correctly.
If you are concerned by the statistics about back pain in adults, here are five simple tips to help you prevent it.
1. Maintain proper posture.
Most people these days spend a large portion of their day sitting in front of a desk. Unfortunately, most have poor posture and tend to slouch. Slouching is unhealthy as it puts unnecessary strain on your lower back. This leads to fatigue, back, neck and shoulder pain and even abnormal alignment of spine.
Sitting up straight while working is therefore very important. To do this, make sure that your chair and workstation are at appropriate distance and height. Ensure that you are sitting in a comfortable chair with proper support for your back, arms and neck. Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips and keep your knees even or slightly higher than your hips with the help of foot rest if necessary. Also, do not sit for prolonged periods; stand up and go for a walk from time to time.
Lack of time and sheer laziness may have reduced people into mere sedentary creatures, but the human body was naturally built to be active. To keep your body in top shape you’ll have to exercise regularly.
Exercise strengthens muscles and help keep you flexible. Strong muscles are necessary to support spinal discs. Weak muscles cause spinal discs to absorb a lot of load, which can cause back pain.
In addition, exercises keep your body in shape and at a healthy weight. Back problems are more common in people who are out of shape and obese because the back has to constantly support the extra pounds.
While exercising is important, what’s more important is doing it properly. Rather than working out heavily on just the weekdays, it will be better to spread out exercising over the course of a week. Furthermore, avoid lifting very heavy items as they put a strain on your back. Instead, stick with exercises that improve core body strength and muscles like strength training, swimming, abdominal crunches and Pilates.
3. Eat the right food.
The saying “You are what you eat” is very true. Your body needs a healthy, nutritious supply of food to keep functioning at its best. Eating a balanced diet with variety of vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrition will nourish your bones, discs and muscles and make your back stronger.
Besides, healthy food, with sufficient fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meat, dairy product and food rich in fiber, keeps your digestive system clean and well-functioning. It is well established that irritated bowels and constipation can put pressure on your lower back and cause significant pain. Furthermore, balanced diet keeps your weight in check and thus can help to avoid weight related back pains.
On the other hand, inflammatory foods like processed cheese, enriched white flour and alcoholic drinks can increase back pain. Also avoid spicy food, junk food and sugary foods, which are bad for your back.
4. Get a regular massage.
Just like your body needs activity, it also needs refreshment. People live a very stressful life – the physical and mental demands of today’s workplace is more than enough to make anyone exhausted. In the absence of proper rest and relaxation, your back might suffer heavily as stress-induced muscle tension can lead to back problems.
A proper massage is probably the best way to release all the stress in your mind and relax your muscles. Whether you go to a professional masseuse or opt for the massage chair, incorporating massages in your fitness regimen will work wonders for your health and fitness. You can have a full body massage to rejuvenate your body, or opt for targeted massages that concentrate on removing pain from sore muscles.
Massage also helps you to improve your spine alignment by reducing pressure on the nerves and improving your posture, both which are essential to prevent back problems.
5. Quit smoking.
Here is one more reason to quit smoking: it causes back pain. The numerous health hazards of smoking cigarettes are well-publicized. Smoking considerably raises your chances of getting cancer such as lung, gum and colon cancer. It increases risks of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases like angina and serious pulmonary diseases like bronchitis. Even psychological problems like depression and anxiety can be attributed to smoking.
To add to all these, smoking also causes back problems. Consumption of nicotine results in the hardening of arteries. As a result blood flow is reduced in the spinal region accelerating disc degeneration. Furthermore, smoking reduces the absorption of calcium, a vital element necessary to keep bones healthy and strong.
Of course, giving up smoking is easier said than done, but it you are dedicated enough you can do it. Nicotine gums and patches may be able to help you quit smoking for good.
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