Tips for a Healthy Back & Spine
Anyone who has ever suffered through a backache understands the importance of a healthy spine and back to overall quality of life. Because your spine is made up of numerous nerves, muscles, and ligaments that serve as connections to areas throughout your body, keeping your back in top condition is one of the best things you can do for your general health.
Unfortunately, most Americans are not aware of how simple it is to protect their spine from unwanted injury or strain, and instead unknowingly cause pain or discomfort that could otherwise be avoided.
One way to ensure a healthy spine is to give it time to rest while you are asleep. As you are sleeping, all the structures in your spine finally have an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can create or worsen lower back pain, and lack of support from a mattress reinforces poor sleeping posture, strains muscles, and can cause misalignment in the spine. While personal preference for comfort should be the top consideration when selecting a mattress, a good mattress should always provide support for the natural curves and alignment of the spine.
Another consideration when trying to prevent back pain is shoe choice. Whether you are walking for exercise or just to reach your destination, the shoes you wear have a big effect on your back. Shoes should be well-balanced, flexible, and comfortable. Good shoes not only provide protection for your feet but also provide a supportive base that helps keep the spine and body in alignment.
While most people may think that sitting down provides relief to their spine, the reality is that the discs in your lower spine are loaded three times more while sitting than standing. Since long periods of sitting can often create or aggravate back pain, it is important to practice proper posture when you do sit. This is especially true for people who spend long periods of time in office chairs, many of whom slouch or lean forward. This poor posture usually leads to muscle tension and pain in the lower back and legs.
Finally, exercise your abdominal and back muscles for optimum back health. When these muscles are well maintained, they help support the spine and minimize the chance of injury.