Keep mobile: 5 tips to maintain good back health
Your body is a temple. As its master, you know what it’s capable of, how to challenge it, and how to care for it. Or, do you?
When you are pain-free, it can be easy to lulled into a false sense of health security. Even without symptoms your body can be working harder than it needs to keep you comfortable and well. An unexpected little twinge can transform into discomfort and everyday pain very quickly if you haven’t been caring for your body well.
After headaches, back pain is one of the most common complaints we treat. After all, your back is a large, complex part of your anatomy – it’s the home of your spinal column, provides support and flexibility to your head, and allows movement of your limbs. Being such a predominant part of your body, it’s easy for your back to be affected by pain or injury.
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we want to help empower you to help you live a mobile and active pain-free life. In combination with visiting your chiropractor for regular adjustments, we recommend you:
Allow your spine to rest while sleeping
After a busy day, it’s important to give your spine the opportunity to rest in a neutral position. When you lie down, it enables your body to properly relax and recharge. To maximise your rest, it’s important you sleep with your neck in a neutral position – sleep on your back or side and choose a good pillow and mattress to support you. Read more about how to align your spine in your sleep here.
Exercise your core to strengthen abs and back
Your body functions well when it’s stable and in balance. Core exercises train your back, pelvis and hips to work together efficiently. Not only does having a strong core reduce the risk of injury, it makes it easier to do everyday activities like getting out of bed in the morning, reaching for a glass on a high shelf or turning around when someone calls your name.
You can incorporate core work into your everyday life with a sequence of short exercises and stretches. Your chiropractor can recommend some that are right for you and your body. Be inspired by Dr. Greg Sher as he demonstrates a wall angel, upper back, mid-back and lower back exercises.
Maintain a healthy weight
An essential element to enabling your body to perform well is to keep it at a healthy weight. In fact, setting out to achieve this health goal is one of the best things you can do for you and your body. It helps reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer; relieves back and joint tension, improves your self esteem, and increases your energy.
If you’re unsure if you currently sit within the healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) range, plug your details into this calculator. Need to shed some kilos? Speak to your GP or trusted medical professional if you need specific advice about how to adjust your food intake and exercise regime to get back to a healthy weight.
Use good technique when carrying heavy things
Regardless of what you do day in day out, we all need to carry heavy things from time to time. It’s important that when you do, you protect your back and get the basics right:
- If you’re lifting heavy things, remember to maintain your posture whilst you bend at the knees (not the hips). Ask for help if it’s too heavy to carry on your own.
- If you carry a handbag or sports bagwith you each day, try to choose one that’s back-friendly. Choose a backpack style (over a tote or cross body style) and don’t carry unnecessary weight. Just the essentials. Don’t wear the backpack low, place heavy items at the base of your back, and wear it with both straps.
- If you’re a parent, carrying your kids is an everyday weightlifting exercise. Check out our blog here for more tips.
Look after your posture
Good posture is another important element to maintaining a healthy spine. If you sit and stand in correct postural alignment your body encounters less strain on its joints and ligaments. Here’s some quick reminders:
- When sitting (including at work), remember to keep your back straight and avoid your shoulders rolling forward.
- When standing, try to avoid slouching. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet, your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- When driving, try to sit up straight. Car seats aren’t designed for good posture. To improve your posture behind the wheel, position your seat so your knees are higher than your hips.
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we put you first. We believe in offering chiropractic care that enables you to make informed and educated choices about your health. If you are suffering pain or injury and would like to talk to us about how we can help you get mobile and active again – get in touch right here.