Tips for bad backs

Until you’ve had one, you can’t ever know how debilitating and painful a bad back can be. Better to avoid one altogether, of course. Following these tips may reduce the chance of injuring your back, or recurring pain if you already have a problem.

1. Listen to your back
Pain is a warning sign. If what you’re doing hurts, then stop. Do not try to push through the pain.

2. Drop the load
If you’re overweight, you’re a candidate for back problems. Try to maintain your proper body weight to avoid straining your back muscles. Eating a balanced diet provides nutrients that fight the deterioration of the bones in the back.

3. Straighten up
Try to maintain a good posture by not slumping in your chair, hunching up over a work-bench or walking around with rounded shoulders. Instead, imagine there is an invisible cord from the top of your head to the ceiling lifting you into a tall, relaxed posture, rather than a short, bent over one.

4. Get moving
Exercise regularly to keep the muscles which support your back strong and flexible. Of particular importance are the lower back and abdominal muscles. Before you start your day or undertake any exercise, warm up by gently stretching your muscles and limbs.

5. Sleep easy
Sleep in a comfortable position – on your side in the ‘foetal’ position is usually the least stressful on your back. Sleeping on your stomach puts more stress on your back and neck. Choose a firm sleep surface which allows your spine to maintain its natural ‘S’ curve.

6. Lift correctly
You don’t have to lift something heavy in order to hurt your back. Picking up something light incorrectly is far more likely to hurt your back than picking up heavy objects correctly. Lifting things away from your body is also likely to cause damage. When you pick up anything, no matter the weight, get it close to your body, bend your knees and keep your back as straight as you can and don’t twist.

7. Stress busting
When under stress, your back, neck and shoulder muscles are often tight. When this is the case, a sudden movement can trigger a muscle spasm. Learn how to relax, take breaks in your day and consider alternative therapies such as massage or yoga.

Whether it’s taking responsibility for the health of your spine or getting supportive care, you can help create the health that will be with you throughout your lifetime. By choosing a combination of exercise, stress reduction, and healing treatments as you need them; you can promote the best spinal health.