Your spine lies at the heart of your musculoskeletal system, which means almost any issue that crops up in this structure can create a domino effect that leaves you in pain and with limited movement. If you were to ask the nearly 65 million people in the United States who report recent problems with back pain, we’re sure they would concur.
Due to the widespread impact that poor spine health can have on your body, the team of spine experts here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management present the following tips.
These simple exercises and habits can support your spine in myriad ways, helping keep back pain at bay.
1. Strengthen your core
Your spine relies on your core muscles for support. If these muscles are weak, more of the burden falls to your spine, causing degenerative damage.
When we talk about core muscles, we’re referring to the muscles that lie deep inside your abdomen and back, including your:
- Abs (rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis)
- Erector spinae
- Pelvic floor muscles
Each of these muscle groups support your spine. By keeping them strong, you can take the pressure off of your spine. Here are some core-strengthening exercises to get you started.
2. Sit less
As a whole, we spend too much time sitting, which places far more pressure on our spines. We urge you to take frequent breaks if you need to sit for long periods — simply stand up and move around at least once each hour. You can also look into more spine-friendly work tools, such as a standing desk.
3. Mind your posture
While you’re seated, it’s important that you don’t slouch. A good trick is to sit in your chair, with both feet flat on the ground, then arch your back. Release this arch by about 15% and you’ll find a good neutral position for your back. Remember to keep your shoulders back, as well, and keep your screens at eye height so your neck isn’t bent forward.
4. Support your spine while you sleep
When you sleep, you should be giving your spine a true break. It’s important that you sleep on a mattress that is firm and provides support. As well, if you sleep on your back, you can place a pillow under your knees to relax your spine (or between your knees if you sleep on your side). Please resist sleeping on your stomach, which forces your spine into an awkward position.
5. Watch the heavy lifting
If you need to lift something heavy, don’t put all of the effort on your spine. Instead, bend at your knees and use your legs to help you lift heavy objects. By spreading out the workload, you can protect your spine and avoid some very painful issues, such as back muscle strains.
If you follow the tips we outline above, you can enjoy a much stronger back that will resist conditions like sciatica and herniated discs. Should you develop back pain, rest assured, we’re here to help with a wide range of treatments that will get you back to moving freely again.
If you’d like some more tips on keeping your spine healthy, please contact one of our offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York, to set up a consultation.