8 Ways to Boost Spine Health
We may not always consider our spine when we set health goals. Basically, we know what to do for healthy muscles, skin, and our digestive systems, but spine health isn’t discussed in the media – and in our daily lives – quite as much.
However, maintaining a healthy back isn’t complicated; follow these eight simple tips to get started toward spine health.
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Stay within ten pounds of your ideal weight to avoid putting extra strain on your back; beer bellies are the worst culprit, here.
2. Stand correctly. Keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent, to take some of the pressure off of your lower back.
3. Lift safely. Avoid twisting while lifting, and use your legs to push heavy items, rather than trying to lift them. When in doubt, ask someone to help you do the heavy lifting.
4. Sit comfortably. When sitting, avoid slouching, and try to maintain the natural curve in your lower back. Try to keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, and keep your head up and back straight.
5. Carry carefully. If you are carrying heavy objects, try to keep them as close to your body as possible.
6. Be smart about reaching. Stand on a stool when you are reaching for something above shoulder level to avoid hurting your mid-back, neck and shoulders. Do not bend over at the waist when picking up items from the floor or table; instead, kneel down on one knee to pick up the item. Or, you can bend at the knees and lift with your legs, rather than your back.
7. Get the right kind of sleep. If you are a back sleeper, you are putting approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine; other positions may be better for you. When you place a pillow under your knees while lying on your back, you can cut the pressure on your spine in half. Another back-friendly position is to lie on your side with a pillow between your knees.
8. Stop smoking. Smokers heal more slowly when they have back pain because the chemicals in tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in your spine.
While there’s no guarantee that following these tips will completely alleviate spine problems, they are a good start to long-lasting spine health.