When problems start to arise with your back it can impact your life greatly.
We’ve put together 5 simple steps you can use to help take unnecessary strain away from your back and help to ensure any issues aren’t exacerbated.
Its much easier than you’d think to turn a minor tweak into a major concern that causes further issues if you don’t treat your spine with diligence and care.
So here are our 5 top tips that can help you maintain a healthy spine and reduce back pain.
It may seem like an obvious one going off of the title alone but what we’re referring to here is your set up in the bedroom.
At the end of the day your spine finally gets it’s first opportunity (unless you enjoy a siesta or two!) to truly take a load off. This is your spine’s time to get some proper rest and recuperation. Considering how much time we spend in bed it still amazes me how many people aren’t truly happy with their level of comfort in their own bed!
Take time to choose the right pillows that support your neck in a way that works for you. If that means you and your partner have pillows that don’t match, so be it! The aesthetics of your bed should pale into insignificance when compared with your back health.
I personally like a pillow with a memory foam core but my partner finds them too firm. It really is ‘horses for courses’ so don’t be afraid to test some out at your local bed retailer / furniture store. Blindly buying online is not recommended here and a short trip to a retailer could make all the difference between consistently great sleep or continually worsening spinal issues.
Next we have to look at the mattress – if sharing with a partner then this (unfortunately) has to be a unanimous decision. Again, don’t be suckered in by the new breed of next day delivery, mattress in a tube, try it and return it after 100 days shtick, get to a local retailer and don’t be afraid to remove your shoes and have a little lie down on their offerings! If you’re sharing your bed with someone, probably best to take them along too.
If you happen to be pregnant then finding that sweet spot of comfort can sometimes seem like an impossible feat but never fear! There are a number of great support pillows for you and your bump, check them out and don’t suffer in silence!
Your abs and the muscles in your lower back are going to be your best friends if you start getting spinal issues. Keeping these strong and balanced is going to take enormous amounts of strain away from the spine leading to reduced pain and prevention of further injury.
The kicker here is that, for most of us, in our day to day work life, these muscle groups may be some of the most neglected so making the time to focus on these muscle groups is something you should definitely plan for.
Pilates and Yoga are two activities that can really help here but we’d recommend going to classes rather than a simple app or online video. If performed incorrectly you can land yourself with further complaints so professional supervision, at least in the first instance, is a must.
We provide Pilates classes so if this is something of interest then please don’t hesitate to get in touch regarding these. Of the two (yoga and Pilates) I find Pilates is much more beneficial if you already have pre existing complaint with your spine.
If Pilates and Yoga aren’t for you there are many exercises you can do from home which can keep you toned in these key areas. Give yourself 15 – 30 minutes a day to complete them and reap the benefits! We’ll cover some of the best exercises in another post soon.
3. These boots are made for more than walking!
Your choice of shoes can be critical to maintaining a healthy spine.
Of course you’re likely going to choose a shoe based on the aesthetics first, you’re only human, however don’t settle if they look but don’t feel right.
Thankfully you can have your cake and eat it in this scenario thanks to the wealth of options you have in the way of inserts.
If you suffer from more than just minor issues with your back we’d recommend visiting a specialist to help you find the right inserts for you and your posture, don’t just pick up any old insert that comes in your size!
This could lead to issues arising in your knees and hips as well as your back.
Also if you’re particularly active it’s always wise to have different shoes for different situations. This might seem obvious, especially in the instance in the case of gym shoes vs walking shoes but if for example you have like road running and playing tennis, wearing the same shoe for each activity might not be doing you any favours.
Alongside the obvious stress relieving impact a good massage can have, the therapeutic benefits are huge. Proven to raise the endorphin levels pumping round your body, this helps to reduce any pain you may be experiencing.
The benefits here are two fold – you get a self produced pain remedy and it could help you not rely so much on pain medication. Taking less oral pain relief can only be a good thing for you and your liver so don’t hesitate to get a good massage as regularly as you need.
Another benefit here is that massage stimulates blood flow and with this will help bring healing nutrients (from the healthy balanced diets we assume you have!) to affected areas and help speed up recovery and healing times.
It is little wonder why after game / match / race , etc massages are common place in the field of sport.
We don’t mean get a new job if you find yourself sat at a desk all day! We just mean that you should change your sitting habits and adjust your working environment to work for you.
Many people don’t realise that you while you are sat down you pile on up to 3 times as much load on your lower back when compared with being stood up. Overtime this imbalance can cause havoc for the discs lower down your spine.
Get up, walk around, try not to slouch or hunch over your desk and find a chair that supports you are the key factors here.
2 other things that are increasing in popularity, and there’s a good measure of science thrown in to support these trends are
– Using a Yoga ball as a chair
This forces you to sit with better posture and can help strengthen your core. It also offers a much more cushioned and forgiving surface to sit on as opposed to your most chairs.
There is one caveat though – Be careful not to stick / wedge your heels up against the ball to support its movement as this could cause issues with your knees.
– Adjustable height desks anyone?
I personally use one of these in my office at home and I must say it is a bit of a revelation.
Being able to stand whilst working as and when I want takes the load off my back and helps with that post lunch lag you can experience if you have a nice comfy chair to tilt back in.
If you find that you’re going to need to take the strain off of your knees then you can quickly lower the desk back to a normal sitting height. Having this variety also helps burn calories you simply wouldn’t by being sat down all day. Ikea have a good selection of these, I think it may even be one of their initial creations, but don’t quote us on that!
Essentially the more fluid your movement and the more comfortable your down time the better your back, and the rest of you for that matter, will feel.
I hope the above tips go some way to help you maintain a healthy pain free spine, as well as grabbing some great full nights of sleep, and aid you with burning a few excess calories as well!
If there are any points you’d like to add to the above, or if you have any questions about any of them, please don’t hesitate to join the conversation and get in touch.
Other than that we wish you all the best and hope to see, either at our Osteopathy practice, or back here again soon!
Bye for now 🙂