Improve Your Back Health Today: 9 (Simple) Steps

Geoffrey Lions
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Table of contents

Step 1: Consider Getting Back Pain Surgery

Step 2: Understand Back Pain

Step 3: Check out the 10 Best Exercise Machines for Your Back

Step 4: Take a Look at Some of the Worst Moves for Your Back

Step 5: Learn Best Massage Techniques

Step 6: Know Your Body

Step 7: Consider Getting an Interferential Therapy Machine (if you can afford it)

Step 8: Receive Chiropractic Care

Step 9: Create a Home Program

Step 10: Enjoy Yourself!

Step 11: Decide if you need to be physically active to avoid further injury

Step 12: Avoid certain habits.

Step 13: Relax with Yoga!

Step 14: Use a Lower Back Brace and/or Ice

Step 15: Use Proper Form and Technique during weight training

Step 16: Find out exactly what you can and cannot do in terms of exercise

Step 17: Take a look at the types of activities that are best suited for your back

Step 18: Treat your back with decompression therapy

Step 19: Find out if there are any specific exercises that your doctor wants you to avoid

Step 20: Learn how much your back can take during specific activities

Step 21: Reach out to pain management experts, like chiropractor Dr. Richard Marcus

Table of contents

Step 1: Consider Getting Back Pain Surgery

Step 2: Understand Back Pain

Step 3: Check out the 10 Best Exercise Machines for Your Back

Step 4: Take a Look at Some of the Worst Moves for Your Back

Step 5: Learn Best Massage Techniques

Step 6: Know Your Body

Step 7: Consider Getting an Interferential Therapy Machine (if you can afford it)

Step 8: Receive Chiropractic Care

Step 9: Create a Home Program

Step 10: Enjoy Yourself!

Step 11: Decide if you need to be physically active to avoid further injury

Step 12: Avoid certain habits.

Step 13: Relax with Yoga!

Step 14: Use a Lower Back Brace and/or Ice

Step 15: Use Proper Form and Technique during weight training

Step 16: Find out exactly what you can and cannot do in terms of exercise

Step 17: Take a look at the types of activities that are best suited for your back

Step 18: Treat your back with decompression therapy

Step 19: Find out if there are any specific exercises that your doctor wants you to avoid

Step 20: Learn how much your back can take during specific activities

Step 21: Reach out to pain management experts, like chiropractor Dr. Richard Marcus

Improve your posture to reduce neck pain and back fatigue

Back pain and neck pain are some of the most common ailments people endure today. While these ailments are partly caused by genetics, posture problems worsen the situation. Bad posture, simply being slumped over at the desk, engages the back muscles in an unnatural way. As a result, you feel the pain sooner or later.

Improve Back Health Step 1 – Change Your 'Bad Positioning Habit'

If you want to improve your back and reduce neck pain, you need to start by changing a bad posture habit. In order to do so, you need to pay attention to the position of your upper back, neck, and shoulders.

Place your hand on your upper back and be aware of its position. Are you leaning to the side? Is your upper back rounded? Be aware of your shoulder position. If you're sitting, stand, and are you leaning away from your chair?

When you are aware of your body positioning, it'll be easier to change your bad posture habit. Use seating or table adjustments to help you change your body position. Not every chair has your back and shoulders in mind — using a lumbar support or roll, or setting yourself at an angle can help.

Change your position frequently and introduce regular stretching at your desk

A lot of us spend a lot of time gazing at a laptop, TV, smart phone, or a tablet. So why shouldn’t you introduce a few stretching exercises into your daily routine. It’ll not only improve your flexibility and reduce episodes of back pain, but it can also improve your posture and prevent “tech neck” as well.

To be a bit more specific, those of you who need to work on your posture will be happy to know that these are simple exercises to incorporate into your workday.

Shoulders back and relax

The first and most basic of all exercises is to align your shoulders back to their natural alignment. For most people, this means the tips of your shoulders, not your earlobes, should align with your back.

You can check your alignment by placing a mirror behind you, or simply looking at your reflection.

Keep your head level

The next part is to keep your head level. Keeping your head level or straight is much simpler than it sounds because it helps keep everything aligned correctly.

To help you make sure that your head is level, slowly drop your chin towards the top of your collarbone.

By keeping your head level, you prevent fatigue and cn keep your back straight.

Find your natural posture

Incorporate regular and low impact exercise to your routine

The objective of working out is to challenge your muscles. Whereas exercise for other parts of your body needs to be adjusted, a chiropractor agrees that back exercise require special attention. Back muscles are components of your spine. They are the ones that help you maintain your posture. The good news is that there are easy exercises to help improve the health of your back.

Stretche different body parts regularly. Chiropractors encourage stretching muscles to prevent back pain. Comfortably stretch for about 15 to 30 seconds and on multiple muscles. Some muscles to stretch include your chest, upper arms, and abdomen. Talk with your health professional before starting this exercise routine.

Workout at least 4 times a week. Back strengthening exercises should be done regularly. If you are not sure about the kind of workout to do, ask your chiropractor for help.

Workout on a mat or area with cushions. Because you are working on your back, you need to be extra careful about your floor. Make sure it is sturdy and has enough cushion for comfort. Start by lying on the floor and using hands to push yourself on the floor. You can also do this lying on your stomach. An alternative exercise is to lie on your stomach and lift legs and buttocks off the floor. You can also do this with your legs outstretched and feet resting on a raised platform.

Evaluate your dietary choices and make changes where necessary

If your back is typically achy, you might be eating foods that cause inflammation and pain. Did you know that certain foods, such as wheat and dairy, can trigger achy backs when consumed long term?

Here is a list of the culprit foods:

  • Sugar and foods containing sugar
  • Food high in fat
  • Food containing high amounts of salt
  • Food high in carbohydrates
  • Food containing preservatives
  • Food containing caffeine

The presence of these foods in your diet can lead to chronic back pain. It is recommended to eliminate them for a few weeks and see whether there is an improvement in your back health.

Ways to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet:

  • Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals
  • Avoid as much processed food as possible
  • Drink plenty of water

Choose footwear that supports good posture during the day and is designed for your chosen exercise

Discipline. Be aware of any discomfort you’re experiencing and make adjustments accordingly. It’s not unusual for new runners to have to adjust their stride or heal strike over weeks and months. If you are experiencing pain when running, try training with a belt to support your back, or touchy shoes designed specifically to improve form by helping you activate your glutes.

Pay attention when lifting items and adapt your stance to protect the back

If you're on a slippery surface, concentrate, and put your feet in a position to ensure a balanced and secure stance.

Also, when lifting, don't twist at the middle. Lift objects close to your body with your arms straight. Don't bend your back as you can injure muscles and damage discs.

"Squats are a great exercise for strengthening the entire lower body and the back," says Harvey. "Squat with straight arms at your sides so your back is flat, rather than arching it to compensate for your lack of strength."

You could also take part in Pilates exercises or yoga as they incorporate core strength and abdominals.

Make sure your workstation is optimized for you

Your occupation may have the ability to impact your back and neck pain. If not, think about your long periods of sitting, as it’s been proven that it can take the same toll on your health as smoking. That’s why you need to start considering what you can do at work to keep you fit and healthy. You have to take action on every step, as the only way to improve your back health is by taking steps to do just that.

The first thing you need to do is to change your posture. A supportive chair is not enough. You need to make sure you have a curved posture, and know that standing, moving around and walking throughout your day is a great idea.

Another thing you can do is to correct your workstation. Chances are you are doing things haphazardly. Be sure that you have your monitor at eye level, and that you can keep your elbows at the correct angle. Fit your keyboard and mouse, so they are within an easy reach. If you have a separate keyboard and a computer mouse, you can easily adjust the distance between them. If you have a wrist rest or arm rests, make sure you are using them.

Check that your sleeping positions and mattress support the back

It’s recommended that the best sleeping position for back and spine health is on your side. If that’s not possible, the second best position is on your back, with a pillow that supports your upper body and neck.

If you wake up with any of the below issues, it’s time to change your mattress or pillow:

  • �burning or aching lower back
  • �chronic back pain
  • �back pain that wakes you up
  • �leg or lower body pain that wakes you up
  • �can’t get to sleep or stay asleep
  • �stiff or sore in the morning (even if you’ve slept well)
  • �unable to control bed partner movements that cause you to wake up
  • �problems staying asleep such as sleep apnea
  • �leg cramps during the night
  • �twisting and turning during the night
  • �waking up feeling groggy and unrested

Quit smoking to encourage better back health – and the rest of your body will thank you

Smoking can increase your risk of spine degeneration, osteoporosis, disc degeneration, and spinal stenosis.

Smoking also decreases the amount of oxygen-rich blood in your body which reduces the flow of nutrients and oxygen to bones and organs including the spine.

References

According to research by Dr. Stuart McGill from the University of Waterloo, spine health is one of the leading causes of pain and injury in the world. Back strain affects nearly 90% of the population to some extent, but just a few changes in lifestyle can prevent it from becoming chronic.

Learn how to sit properly.

Sit at a desk, or even just in front of the computer, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Your back should be upright and your shoulders should remain back, with your head facing forward near your laptop.

Maintain proper form during resistance training.

Whether you are lifting weights or doing a metabolic resistance exercise, your back should be in proper alignment. Avoid hyperextending at the lumbar, and try not to round your back.

Sleep in a neutral position.

Most people sleep with their pillows propped up for comfort. Unfortunately, this can contribute to your back becoming misaligned. Try using a firmer pillow, or fold a pillow in half and sleep on the flat side.

Exercise, but not too much.