If this is a thought that’s been interrupting your daily routine lately, you should know there are easy ways to help.
Your back may be a bigger part of your life than you realize. It rests on your mattress at night, helps you lift objects, and is affected by your neck, shoulders, and even feet. You’ve got to be kind to your back so it can be kind to you.
From exercises to massages, here are our top ten tips for improving back health:
- Get Your Body Moving
Even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, there are some simple exercises you can do to keep your back in its best shape.
For example, you can find moments throughout the day to do some partial crunches on the floor. Or you can try some wall sits while waiting for your tea to boil.
Stretching is not just something you should do before strenuous activity. It’s a good routine to practice throughout your day to reduce strain on your back.
If you’re sitting for much of the day, take breaks to stand and stretch if possible. For a routine that uses interconnected muscle systems, you can even think beyond the back itself and stretch out your neck, arms, and shoulders.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Make sure your mattress is a supportive surface for your back. After all, this is what’s holding your back every night, for several hours. If the mattress is too soft, you may not be getting the support you need.
You can also try some sleeping positions that are designed for back health, like putting pillows under your knees or sleeping on your side or back instead of your stomach.
- Re-evaluate Your Pillow Situation
Pillows and cushions can be excellent tools for creating a back support setup. But if you’re not using them right, they can actually lead to more back pain.
When you sleep at night, are your pillows supporting you well? If the pillow under your head isn’t doing a great job keeping your neck elevated, you may be sleeping with a bit of strain on your back muscles.
- And Your Cushion Situation
And during the day, the cushions you sit on can make a big difference. If you sit on a hard or unsupportive surface for long periods of time, it might be hard to keep your spine in its healthiest curves. Try changing where you sit or looking into seat cushions.
If you use a wheelchair, your seating setup is especially important. A change here is something that will affect several hours out of your day. Consider investing in a good wheelchair seat cushion to improve your wheelchair posture and reduce pain.
- Lift With Your Legs
One way to reduce back pain is to change the way you lift. You may be thinking to yourself, But I don’t do a lot of manual labor or lifting workouts. But the truth is, almost everyone lifts things from time to time, and anyone can benefit from an improvement to their lifting style.
When you lift with your back, you’re exerting a lot of pressure due to the odd angle. Gravity isn’t helping you here. When you lift with your legs, you’ll be more stable, and you’ll be able to balance the weight better with the use of powerful leg muscles.
To lift with your legs, bend your knees under the thing you’re carrying, and keep your back vertical. You can do this for everyday lifting, like groceries and laundry.
- Sit up Tall for Back Health
Posture is a major part of spine health, especially sitting posture. If you’re hunched over or unbalanced, your back could suffer the consequences.
When you use healthy posture, your backbone can support you quite well. When you slouch, though, your muscles and ligaments have to help out in order to keep you upright. Too much strain on these parts is a classic cause of back pain.
Adjust your sitting posture until you feel the most stable. Many people carry tension in their shoulders, so take the time to relax your shoulders as much as possible. You might be surprised at how much relief these simple changes can create!
And if you find that you need some more help in this area, consider upgrading your normal sitting position with back support aides.
- Invest in Some Back Support
You might be able to create a makeshift back support setup with items you already have. A small pillow or rolled-up piece of clothing at your lower back can be the lumbar support tool you never knew you needed.
If you’re looking for something more permanent, you can order an ergonomic back support attachment for your chair or a back cushion. And if you’re in the market for a new chair, you can invest in an ergonomic one that’s designed for back support.
- Consider Your Feet
The body is a connected machine. Tooth problems can lead to a gut problem, and a shift in balance due to an injury in one leg can cause problems in the other. To find the cause of your back pain, you may need to look to a different part of your body:
As you walk around throughout the day, what do you have on your feet? Are your shoes made for comfort or style? If your shoes don’t support you properly, that imbalance can ripple through to your posture, causing back pain.
The good news is that you have options. You can switch to sneakers and more comfortable shoes for your daily errands. Also, you could get some gel insoles or other specialized ones from places like Protalus for the shoes you already use.
- Go for a Nice Massage
This isn’t just an excuse to treat yourself to a relaxing day—though it can be, if you want! Talk to a massage therapist about your back pain and choose an option that targets your tension and relaxes tight muscles.
Getting Back in Business
Back pain can interfere with many of life’s joys, but when you want to improve your back health, you have a variety of options at your hands. Switch out your shoes, drop your shoulders, and maybe go for a nice massage.
These are all changes you can put into motion today! And if you liked this article, share it with someone in your life who’s looking for relief from back pain.