When was the last time you or someone you know suffered an episode of back pain? Chances are it wasn't that long ago. It might have forced you to miss work, take painkillers, anti-inflammatories or other medication, or just deal with the pain longer than you wanted to. Wouldn't it be wonderful to do some simple things to try and prevent back pain from happening in the first place? Here are a few easy ones to get you started:
1. Get adjusted by your chiropractor. Your muscles, bones and ligaments are stressed continuously by normal daily activities: driving, sitting at the computer, lifting your kids, doing exercise and countless other things. These little stresses add up over time and misalign the joints of your spine, arms and legs. The misalignments can then lead to muscle tightness, spasms, joint stiffness and pain. Although chiropractors commonly see patients who are in pain, getting spinal tune-ups when you are feeling "fine" will keep you feeling fine.
2. Practice proper ergonomics. When you make your everyday activities safe to perform, it will help reduce the undue stress on your body. This includes having your computer work stations at home and at your office set up properly for your body.
When lifting items, use the legs and the trunk of the body rather than the arms. Try to avoid bending the back while you lift. And when sleeping, keep in mind that the most supportive position is on your back with a pillow under your knees. The next best position is on your side with a pillow between your knees and your head on a pillow that is thick enough to span the distance of your neck to the shoulders.
3. Exercise regularly. Whether it be walking, playing sports or going to the gym, make sure you set up a program that keeps you consistent. Exercise helps the human body in so many ways, but one of the most important aspects involves stretching and strengthening of your back muscles. Often these muscles are referred to as core muscles of the body because they are located very close to the spine.
4. Avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits. Emotional stress can cause muscle tension, which can lead to back pain (it also can lead to heart problems, chemical imbalances, an inability to sleep and a host of other bad things). Watching what you eat is another important factor to consider, because excess weight literally "weighs you down," which can contribute to back pain. Quite simply, losing excess weight in a healthy manner will take pressure off your lower back and reduce stress on the vertebrae.
Talk to your doctor about the back pain epidemic and some of the health consequences. Working with your chiropractor, you can go a long way toward avoiding back pain before it starts.