Did you know that the most common source of back pain is an injury caused by simply performing an everyday activity, such as lifting a box off the floor, the wrong way? Most of us will experience low back pain at some point in our lives, whether it be minor or severe. The good news is that preventing back pain isn’t difficult, and young adults who take the right steps now can prevent chronic back pain in the future.
If you are a young adult whose back is currently healthy, take note of these tips and back pain remedies to help protect your back and prevent future back pain.
Make time for exercise.
Getting regular exercise is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent back pain. Muscles are made to move, and muscles that are sedentary are more prone to injury from simple activities. Exercise also helps keep your bones and joints strong and healthy while also keeping body weight down. The more you weigh, the more added strain there will be on your lower back as well as your hips and knees.
Exercise with care.
While it’s important to make exercise a part of your everyday routine, it’s also important to practice good technique and exercise with caution to avoid injury. Lifting weights with bad form is a leading cause of low back pain. Be wary of lifting more weight than you can handle, and lower your weight if you can’t perform the exercise while maintaining strict form. Consider lifting lighter weights for more repetitions to build up your strength before moving on to progressively heavier weights, or use an exercise machine until you are comfortable with your form and can move on to free weights. Some weight lifting movements, including deadlifts, squats, clean-and-jerks and snatches, come with a higher risk for back injury and should be performed with the help of a certified fitness professional.
Lifting heavy objects or carrying a bulky load, such as a suitcase or heavy groceries, can strain your back and lead to injury. When lifting a heavy item such as boxes or furniture, practice team lifting and lift with your legs, bending at the knees, rather than at the waist. Keep heavy loads, such as groceries, equally distributed in each hand down at your sides rather than in one hand or over your shoulder. Consider using a rolling cart or bag with wheels whenever possible.
Staying in one position — whether it be sitting, standing or lying down — for an extended period of time isn’t healthy for your back. Relieve tension and stiffness by moving often and incorporating stretching into your routine. Check out this blog post for 10 stretches you can do to keep your back healthy.
Practice good posture.
Standing and sitting with good posture is a good way to convey confidence and professionalism, but there are also physical benefits of maintaining proper posture. Practicing good posture reduces stress on your back by keeping the pieces of your spine aligned and functioning as they should. Keep your shoulders pulled back and avoid slouching or bending to one side. If you sit at a desk for work, use a quality chair that provides lumbar support and avoid slumping over your desk.
Smoking is known to be a serious health risk for many reasons, but did you know that it’s also bad for your back? Smokers are more likely to experience back pain than non-smokers. This is because smoking restricts blood flow to the discs in the spine, causing them to become dry, brittle and prone to rupturing. Smoking also reduces oxygen in the blood, limiting the nourishment that back muscles and tendons receive.
If you experience lower back pain that lasts more than a few days or are dealing with chronic back pain, schedule an appointment with your Houston spine doctor today.