If you find yourself struggling with nagging back pain, you’re not alone. Research conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that 80% of the population will deal with low back pain at some point in their lives. Experiencing back pain can be physically exhausting. However, there are some proven habits and remedies that can limit the negative effects of back pain. Let’s jump into the seven best ways that you can improve your back health and avoid back pain.
1) Prioritize Exercising and Healthy Habits
The most crucial factor to consider when trying to limit back pain is your body’s health. Regular strength training and exercise can lead to improved back health and strength. When coupled with a healthy diet, your risk of back pain and a plethora of other health issues substantially decreases.
2) Focus on Improving Posture
Half of the battle with improving posture is being aware of when you have bad posture. If you catch yourself slouching or hunched over, take a moment to stretch, straighten out your back and move your shoulders backward to a normal position.
Strength training can also help improve posture over time. Make sure to focus on muscles in your back, shoulders, and chest to help maintain a normal posture.
3) Be Cautious of Physical Strain
While exercise and strength training can improve your back health and prevent injury, it’s a double-edged sword. You must practice caution, especially when lifting something that puts strain on your back. We can especially see this within the workplace, where a 3rd of all back injuries reported involve lifting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It’s not just in the workforce though, back injuries happen all the time and can cause back pain on the lower right or left side. For example, when moving things around the house, weight lifting, shoveling, and the list goes on. Be careful and get assistance when lifting heavy items, and pay attention to when your body needs a rest.
4) Be Mindful When Using Technology
Technology has provided much improvement to the lives of people everywhere. Unfortunately, it has a direct correlation with decreases in physical activity and poor posture. We’ve all seen it – someone using their smartphone with their neck hunched over and shoulders slouched inwards. With cell phones being a part of our everyday lives, it’s crucial to be mindful of how it affects your posture.
In addition to smartphones, desk jobs can take a toll on your back over time. Sitting down throughout the day limits exercise and movement, while causing people to hunch over and practice poor posture throughout the day. For those who work full-time, this can have a huge effect on the overall health of their back. While practicing healthy posture while using technology is a difficult habit to form, you can work at it over time. Try taking small breaks after periods of working, and take a moment to stretch and fix your posture.
5) Over-the-Counter Back Pain Relief
While you certainly don’t want to rely on them as your only remedy to back pain, supplementing over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful in relieving back pain as you work on some longer-term healthy habits. When used in moderation and as directed, OTC pain relievers are generally considered safe.
6) Improve Sleep Habits
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that sleep made it on this list. Healthy sleep has a direct effect on so many health issues. Different factors such as sleeping position, back alignment, and quality of sleep all contribute to the overall health of your back.
For example, for many people sleeping on their stomachs is a comfortable way to rest. Unfortunately, stomach sleeping can lead to low back and neck pain over time. However, opting for a softer pillow and keeping your face downwards toward the mattress can improve comfort and lower the strain on your neck, also keeping spinal alignment normal.
7) See a Chiropractor
Sometimes the best thing to do is just to see a chiropractor. In addition to chiropractors, there are also other ways to seek treatment such as osteopathic medicine, therapeutic massage, and more. Through spinal manipulation, chiropractors can help relieve pain and increase your back’s range of motion. Even though seeing a chiropractor can make a big difference, it’s important to combine that treatment with preventative habits and being more conscious of your back’s overall posture and health.