Healthy Life  |  Published February 10, 2023

Maintaining a Healthy Back: Smart Habits To Strengthen Your Back and Overall Health

A healthy back and posture can reduce your risk of back pain and injury. Adopting some simple habits can strengthen your back and improve your general wellness.

Your back supports your body in everything you do. A lot of activities, even sleeping, pose risks to the health and alignment of your spine that can compromise the strength of your back and your health overall.

A healthy spine has three natural curves. When these curves are in proper alignment, your spine and major joints are balanced, and your body weight is evenly distributed. Simple habits can support your back’s healthy curves; contribute to proper alignment; and lower your risk for back pain, injury and other health concerns.

Strengthen Your Core

A common cause of back pain is muscle imbalance. When the muscles of the back or abdomen are weak, they cannot sufficiently support the weight of the body.

Walking briskly with your head held high and stomach muscles pulled in and tight for 20 – 30 minutes a day builds strength in your core muscles. A strong core helps reduce or prevent back pain and injury. Doctors say low-stress aerobic activities like walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates and tai chi tone your muscles and relieve back pain.

Improve Your Posture

Your spine is effective in supporting the weight of your body in its natural upright position. Slouching increases the burden on your spine and causes tension in muscles throughout your body. You must then work harder to support your weight and movements.

When standing, keep your weight balanced between your feet. When sitting, choose a chair that provides good lumbar support and is the proper position and height for whatever you may be doing. To prevent muscle fatigue, avoid staying in one position for a long time. Shift your position from time to time or get up to move around every 30 minutes to an hour.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Moving often is a great habit for keeping your back muscles strong and reducing back pain. Along with proper nutrition, it will prevent excessive weight gain. A diet focused on calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D supports back health by promoting new bone growth.

Shop for Support

By making smart purchases for our homes and even our wardrobes, we can keep our back muscles comfortable and supported.

Sleeping on a firm, comfortable mattress with supportive pillows reduces and prevents back pain. To maintain normal curves in your spine, put a small pillow under your neck. Place a rolled sheet or towel at your lower back. Comfortable low-heeled shoes prevent back pain and injury.

When To Get Medical Attention

If you have intense or persistent back pain, talk to your doctor. Your medical history and a physical exam can identify conditions that may be causing back pain. Your doctor may order tests to rule out concerns. These may include imaging tests to detect misalignment or inflammation. Your doctor can also advise you as you explore ways to add smart habits to your daily life to help give you a healthy back.

Learning how to support the natural curves of your spine will prepare you for a lifetime of strength for your back and your overall health.

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