7 Ways to Keep Your Spine and Back Healthy
Imbalanced spine and weak back due to a sedentary lifestyle can really make you feel miserable. There are few things you can do to remove unnecessary pain and discomfort as you work actively to maintain a strong and healthy back:
1. Get moving: Sitting at your desk for extended periods can put you at risk for back distress. Your neck, spine and shoulders tend to slouch forward. Your hip flexors become shortened. When your spine is in an unnatural position, your hamstrings (big muscles behind your upper leg) and butt become tight pulling on the pelvis.
This therefore makes your back and especially lower back more painful. Find a reason to get up more often, instead of calling, stand up and walk over to your colleague, stand up and stretch or just try some shoulder rolls, pelvis twist, arm straight forward roll and stretch the back, neck and shoulders.’
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2. Sleep properly: How you sleep is really important for your spinal health. If you sleep on your back, trying placing a pillow under your knees to relieve the pressure on your spine. Even better, you can still sleep on your side.
3. Be flexible: As mentioned above, tight hamstrings, a slouched posture and shortened hip flexors can all lead to misalignment of the spine and the back. Maintain a full range of motion of all the joints, particularly around the spine and pelvis by doing flexibility sessions like yoga and static stretches as often as possible. When standing, stand up straight, stand tall, balanced and aligned.
4. Lift properly: Whenever you are lifting heavy objects, instead of bending down with your legs straight, kneel with one knee down to lift. Make sure you keep the weight close to your body while using the legs to lift rather than the back. And if the object is too heavy, ask for help.
5. Watch that phone: When multitasking and using your phone at the same time, avoid holding your phone to your ear with your shoulders. This can really put a great deal of strain on your neck, shoulder and spine. You can either hold the phone to your ear maintaining proper neck and head alignment while at it or just use the speakerphone.
6. Keep going: Do Aerobics and strength training exercises for the core. Aerobics not only help you stay fit and healthy, it also helps you maintain proper weight and strong joints which are necessary for a healthy spine. To train your core area, focus on exercising your lower back, abdominal walls and side abdominals.
7. Drink up: Since the vertebral discs are about 88 per cent water, make sure you are always hydrated. Dehydration can seriously lead to degeneration of the discs.