Preventative back care is vital if you want to enjoy a full and pain free life. A "bad back" can be very restrictive in terms of movement and quality of life, not to mention extremely painful.
No matter whether you are working out, doing chores, working around your home, at work or just playing with your children in the yard, it is imperative that you take care of your back. Many household chores and DIY home improvement jobs have resulted in a lower back injury or strain. It has been estimated that over 90% of Americans will suffer from some sort of back pain at some stage in their lives.
The best remedy for a bad back is to not get one in the first place. Use these handy hints to keep your spine in tip top shape:
Lose the extra weight. Every extra excess pound that you carry is a burden on your lower spine. It is also much harder to maintain correct spinal posture when you have a belly pulling your body out of alignment. Having strong core muscles is vital to keeping your back healthy and strong.
Posture. Stand up straight and tall with your tummy muscles tucked in. Do not slouch. When sitting for long periods of time, ensure that you are taking advantage of any lumbar supports in your seat or chair. Ball chairs can be great for keeping your posture in good alignment and your tummy muscles tucked in. When sitting, ensure that your feet are flat on the floor and that your shoulders are not hunched, this will automatically put you in the correct postural position. Ensure that your desk is the correct height for you. Never stay in the one position for too long when sitting or standing.
Correct lifting. A lot of back injuries occur in the process of lifting. Any objects that you feel are too heavy for you to lift solo should be left where they are until you can find a helper. You should always lift objects with your knees bent and your back straight. As you raise the object your knees should straighten out. Keep the strain off your back by holding the object nice and close to your body. While you are lifting it is important not to twist your body.
Stretching. A good set of back stretches performed every day can help to strengthen your core muscles and keep your spine flexible. Both extension and flexion movements should be incorporated for best results. A session with a physiotherapist can be ideal to point you in the right direction with your stretching routine.
Push not pull should be your mantra when confronting heavy objects. When you push you are enabling your leg muscles to do the heavy work. Pulling nearly always involves bending and straining your back (a big no-no).
Use equipment when the job seems too big. Dollies and hoists were invented for a reason. You have all the time in the world, but only one good back. There are various gadgets that you can employ when gardening or working around your home to take the strain off your back. Use a small step ladder to reach that high object. Lifting and reaching are not a good combination for your spine.
Ask for help. If your luggage or groceries are too
heavy, get somebody to help you. Many hands make for light work,
especially in these situations.
Sleep is important for 2 reasons. The first factor is how you sleep. The best two positions for a healthy back are on your side with your knees bent, or alternatively, on your back with your knees bent up. Bending your knees when lying flat on your back takes some of the curve out of your back and releases some of the strain. A good quality sleep is equally important for good back health. When you are tired it is just that much harder to keep up the good posture.
Regular exercise is important for not only keeping the pounds down, but also to strengthen the core muscles and the ligaments around your spine. Your increased fitness will also ensure that when you do those extra chores around the house and yard you will not pull up too sore the next day. Keeping on the move keeps your joints well lubricated and prevents your body tightening up, as it does when it encounters sporadic flurries of activity.
There are various forms of exercise that will benefit your back as well as your overall health:
A stationary exercise bike is an excellent way to burn calories and improve cardiac fitness. Many people with lower back problems prefer a recumbent exercise bike, as you are forced to sit with a good posture while you pedal with your feet out in front. An upright exercise bike can have you hunched over the handle bars if you are not careful.
Life Fitness 9500 recumbent exercise bikes are a great choice for those looking to protect their lower back. Not only does the reclined seat help with your posture, but also the seat has lumbar support and dual positioning for even better back health.
Aqua aerobics is a fantastic form of low impact exercise. The water acts as a buffer removing all jarring from your joints. The water acts as an added resistance making for an excellent form of fat burning and cardio fitness. Aqua aerobics is excellent for people with pre-existing injuries, and those who wish to prevent injuring themselves while exercising.
Swimming is also another excellent way to exercise in the pool. Swimming will help to tighten up your abdominal muscles supporting your spine and will cushion your joints from jarring.
Walking while maintaining good posture is an excellent all round form of low impact exercise.
Day or night, work or play, or simply working out, it is important to be mindful of your back. Having a bad back is painful, and can prevent you from enjoying all of life's pleasures. It is much easier to keep your back healthy than to have to try and nurse it back to good health.
About the Author:
Scott Gray is currently a fitness enthusiast and freelance writer who enjoys providing health and fitness tips to consumers. He maintains a fitness tips information web site where you can find information about getting in shape, losing weight and how to live a healthy life style.