Approximately 80-90% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point. A healthy spine is an often overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle. People, who suffer from back pain, particularly if it is long-term, are generally less healthy than those who do not. It’s important for you to try to keep your spine as healthy as possible.
Physiotherapists recommend the following Spinal Health Tips:
- When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This position helps to take the pressure off your lower back.
- Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your lower back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.
- At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine, especially while lifting.
- If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it.
- Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.
- If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.
- Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight.
- Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).
- Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.
Reaching and Bending
- When reaching for something above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Straining to reach such objects may not only hurt your mid-back and neck, but it can also bring on shoulder problems.
- Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or a table.
- Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you are lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up.
- Or bend at the knees, keep the item close to your body, and lift with your legs, not your back.
- When carrying objects, particularly if they are heavy, keep them as close to your body as possible.
- Carrying two small objects—one in each hand—is often easier to handle than one large one.
Healthy Diet and Exercise
- The most efficient and effective way to reduce weight is by eating a sensible diet and exercising regularly.
- Consult with your health professional before beginning any exercise program, particularly if you have a health condition.
- Placing a pillow under your knees while lying on your back cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.
- Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may also reduce the pressure on your back.
- Never sleep in a position that causes a portion of your spine to hurt. Most often, your body will tell you what position is best.
While following these instructions is no guarantee that you’ll be free from back pain for your entire life, it can certainly reduce your risk of developing it. These simple steps will help you keep your spine in good shape, making you a healthier, happier person.
Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from Melbourne University. Since then, he has had over 21 years of experience as a physiotherapist and is also a qualified D.M.A. Clinical Pilates Practitioner.