Simple Lifestyle Changes That Prevent Back Pain

About four out of five Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. It can take many forms, but lower back pain is the most common. Fortunately, there are many simple lifestyle changes you can make to avoid an aching back.

Daytime Lifestyle Changes

1. Maintain a healthy body weight.

Being overweight strains your back and disrupts your balance. Abdominal fat is especially problematic. Spot reducing is a myth but your midsection will usually slim down along with the rest of your body when you lose excess pounds.

2. Exercise regularly.

Yoga is a great way to improve your posture and flexibility and strengthen your muscles. Any physical activity can help fight inflammation by increasing the flow of blood and nutrients to your back.

3. Eat more calcium.

Strong bones help protect you from osteoporosis, a leading cause of back pain, especially for women. Eat your yogurt and leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale.

4. Follow safety guidelines at work.

Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injuries. Talk with your employer about job design features that will keep you productive and safe.

5. Practice good posture.

Make it a habit to press your lower abdomen against your spine. Keep your shoulders held back and relaxed. Hold your head up.

6. Sit correctly.

Try to use an adjustable chair that will give you all the support you need. Prop a pillow against your lower back if needed. Keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Change positions or take a brief walk frequently.

7. Lift safely.

Bend down at the knees and lift with your legs to avoid putting the whole load on your back. Carry heavy objects close to your body. Get help if an object is too heavy for you to lift alone.

8. Dress comfortably.

Stiletto heels and heavy handbags can cause knee and back pain. So can overstuffing your pockets or wearing anything two sizes too small. Enjoy dressing up for special occasions but ensure your everyday wardrobe allows a full range of movement and your tote bag stays under 10 percent of your bodyweight.

Nighttime Lifestyle Changes

1. Select the right mattress for you.

A moderately firm mattress usually works best because it adapts to the natural curves of your spine. If you have a firm mattress, an inch or two of padding on top may help.

2. Sleep on your side.

Sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent helps protect your back. Even better, put a small pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned.

3. Sleep on your back.

Sleeping on your back is also good. Stick a small pillow under your knees to maintain the curve in your lower back.

4. Stop sleeping on your stomach.

Lying on your stomach puts extra stress on your back. To break the habit, lie on your side and use pillows that will make it harder to roll over.

5. Avoid alcohol.

You may fall asleep faster drinking alcohol but it impairs the quality of your sleep and you're more likely to wake up with aches and pains. Some prescription medications may also interfere with sleep.

6. Apply heat.

A heat pack is an easy and safe way to keep a little ache from growing into a big one. Get a hot water bottle or a pack that you can microwave and apply to any spot that needs a little extra care.

It's important to see a doctor if you feel any numbness or tingling, or if you experience severe or chronic pain.

For most backaches, these self-help techniques will give you effective relief and keep the pain from coming back.

Learn more about your health online when you read the rest of our information here about: Chronic Pain Management Guide and also download the free health report available there!

Warren Tattersall has been a full time nutritional consultant for over a decade and works with people all over the world to help them improve their health, increase their personal energy levels and to use supplements to assist with diet related health issues.

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Aching Back?

Do you feel like there’s a knife in your back due to stabbing pains in your spine? Is it hard to sit or stand and you can’t seem to find a comfortable way to get to sleep?

Back pain is one of the most common complaints that doctors hear about.

Sometimes you know the reason for the back pain – a simple straining lifting something heavy, an injury due to playing sports, an auto accident or maybe even a work related injury.

Other times you have no idea what you did or didn’t do to ignite the pain.

When the back muscles are overused or wrongly used, you can feel pain for a few days and then you might notice an improvement.

If the back pain doesn’t go away after a few days with rest and over the counter pain relievers, then you need to seek medical help. You may have a more serious problem that can result in chronic pain.

Back pain may also be a warning sign that you need to change your ways. Don’t bend over and pick up your child or a heavy object without first bending your knees, and then lifting.

Improper lifting is a leading cause of back pain and disc damage. Your body may also be trying to tell you to sit up straight and stop slouching in your desk chair at work.

Another message from back pain is that your mattress is too soft or too hard to promote comfortable sleep.

If the mattress is too hard, you can add a down-filled or egg crate-cushioned top to the mattress.

A too soft mattress probably needs to be replaced also if it doesn’t support your back.

When back pain strikes, you need to limit strenuous activities and get extra rest. You might try an ice pack or heating pad, depending on which provides the most pain relief. Women need to trade heels for flats or at least wear lower heels.

Those stiletto heels that are all the fad are practically a business builder for neurosurgeons when you consider how much damage long term wear will do to some women.

Choose to sit in a chair with a firm, straight back. Stay away from over-stuffed chairs or sofas that you sink into.

In your car, set your seat straight and move slightly closer to the steering wheel.

You want to keep your knees bent to reduce the strain on your back muscles as you drive, particularly if you regularly drive long distances.

If you’re driving a lot during the day, pull over to a safe location and get out to stretch.

When you’re sitting at your desk, get up frequently for stretch and movement breaks. Walking is a fantastic exercise for back problems.

It’s much safer than running because at least one foot is in contact with the ground and there’s no strain on the knees from pounding the pavement as occurs with running.

If you have to stand for long periods or even long enough to do the ironing, place a short stool beside you.

Alternately place one foot and then the other on the stool. Keep your back straight.

This is one way to reduce the negative impact of standing. Back pain makes you rethink how you do things and find ways to adapt that both reduces pain and prevents further damage.

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