Back injuries stand as our nation’s number one workplace safety problem. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 195,150 reported cases involving back injuries in 2009. You only get one back and it is imperative that everyone is informed about basic things you can do to keep your back healthy.
Your mom was right. The way you carry yourself has an effect on your health. Good posture may not be exactly what you think it is. To learn more about maintaining good posture, visit this great resource:
Even lifting something that doesn’t seem too heavy, when lifted improperly, can create an enormous amount of strain on your back. There is a proper way to lift bigger objects. You should however avoid picking up things that are over 30 pounds. They key in smart lifting is keeping the back straight–let your legs do most of the work. Both of your legs serve as strong support systems for your back. Do not bend down with your knees straight over your waist! The tension caused here on your back is horrible.
You should rather bend down with your knees and hips while keeping your back straight. If this method of picking up things is new to you, it may seem a little weird or awkward at first, keep practicing! Maybe you can even make a dance out of it.***
You’ll see magazines all over with titles like, “10 Foods For A Healthy [body part]“. More often than not, you’ll find people more consciences about their heart, brain, liver, kidneys, etc. (there’s even an article on “how to keep a healthy appendix.” Not kidding). The spine does seem to get somewhat neglected, but it the spine needs good nutrients just as well as any other part of your body! So what foods make your back happy? Glad you asked. Look for foods containing Vitamins A, B12, C, D, K, Iron, and of course, calcium. For a list of explanations as to what these vitamins and minerals do for your spine and what foods you can find them in, check out this great article here.
Much of lower back pain is caused by muscle imbalances–that is, one side is developed more than another. This problem can be avoided by stretching and properly exercising your back regularly.
The human body was not designed to run on less than eight hours of sleep. When your body is running on low sleep, that’s more damage done on the main frame of your body. More nights of quality rest means less wear and tear on your spine.
Additionally, it is critical that you get a good, comfortable mattress to sleep on. We spend a lot of our lives sleeping in our beds. A stiff, firm mattress will cause you to wake up with a tense back. Avoid this by getting a bed of good quality that will support the natural curves of your back.
Before engaging in activity, get your whole body warmed up–especially your back!
Stress affects your muscle tension. When you are unable to manage your stress, your muscles–especially your back muscles–pay the price. Set aside a time for rest, relaxation and restoration. This will improve the overall health of your back.
The majority of jobs are sitting jobs. It’s important to have proper support and posture. Find good ergonomic solutions to maintain a healthy spine shape–if you are unable to obtain an ergonomic chair with lumbar support, you can roll up a small towel and use it to maintain the curve of the lower back. Supporting the lower back while sitting will help air flow, alertness and your overall health.
Strengthening your leg muscles and abdominal muscles will take more pressure of your back muscles. Everything working together in equilibrium is much healthier than letting one part of the body do all the work. Diversify your muscle building time investments, beef cake.
We may not recognize the damage that extra weight has on our backs, but if you lug around a 15, 20, 30, or 40 lbs. backpack for a day, you’ll immediately see how extra weight will affect the health of your back!
*dancing may not actually be beneficial to your spine
**all dances involving the smart lifting procedure are coprighted by and belong to the PCW Health Blog