7 Steps to a Healthier Spine

A couple senior asian talking and exercising at a park
Back pain can affect our lives in so many ways. Besides uncomfortable – and sometimes excruciating – pain, we can suffer lethargy and an inability to enjoy the activities we love.
However, maintaining healthy spine habits can go a long way to preventing back pain. Here are seven steps you can take right now to achieve a healthier spine with less pain:
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. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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.
For back pain solutions that are specific to your condition, please make an appointment with Dr. Sharma today.