Spine health tips

Spine Health: 10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Back

We all know that looking after our health is important. The good news is that we have access to all the information and resources we need today to make decisions on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Bad diet, lack of exercise, too much stress and a poor work-life balance can all contribute to medical problems in later life. One health issue that seems to have increased in recent years is the number of people who have back problems.

Much of this is down to the consequences of a more sedentary lifestyle. Many of us are stuck in office chairs hunched over computers, driving long distances in our cars and, once back home, we’re slouching in front of the TV.

Maintaining a healthy back is important. The spine forms the core around which our skeletal structure is arranged. Damage to this area of the body leads to significant pain, loss of mobility and can have a real impact on our ability to live life to the full.

Here we take a look at 10 great spine health tips that should help keep your back in tip-top condition whatever your age:

1. Seated Posture

One of the fundamental things to consider when it comes to spinal health is posture.. In truth, this is one thing people all too often ignore. How we sit is important, especially seeing as we do quite of a lot of it in the modern world.

Rather than slouching over a computer or laptop, it’s best to try and sit with a relatively straight back. The best way to do this is sit with the posterior right back in your seat. Straighten and push the shoulders back and then relax a little. This should leave you with a reasonably good posture.

Sitting in an ergonomic chair is also helpful and can make it easier to maintain a strong posture.

2. Keeping Active

Sitting for long periods is not good for the spine. The more someone can keep themselves active, the better. Fitting a decent amount of exercise into your daily routine is good and it doesn’t have to be high impact. Getting up and having a stretch or walking around can make a big difference.

3. Choose a Supportive Bed

What we sleep on is another key factor in back health. We so often get used to a particular mattress, even if it’s not entirely good for our spine. If someone does suffer from spinal health problems, it’s worthwhile changing the mattress and even attempting some different sleeping postures which may relieve pressure from the spine.

4. Lifting Technique

Diagram showing correct lifting technique

Back problems can occur from a variety of different reasons, but one common cause is a poor lifting technique. Even for moderately heavy weights, simply stooping and picking something up can put stress on the lower back and cause problems.

First of all, it’s important not to try and lift things that are too heavy in the first place. Always get help if it’s going to be a struggle. The correct lifting technique is to bend at the knees and keep the back straight.

5. Walking Posture

When walking, it’s best to avoid leaning forward or backwards. Imagine a piece of string attached to the head, pulling it upwards.

Bring the stomach in slightly and engage the core and tuck the buttocks in and tilt the hips forward a little. This should give you the perfect walking posture.

6. Avoid Neck Strain When Using Mobile Devices

These days, one way to take care of your back is to avoid neck strain when using a mobile. We’re practically married to our smartphones nowadays and constant use can play havoc on the muscles and bones around the neck.

7. Supportive Footwear

One of best spinal health tips is to start with your footwear. Uncomfortable or poor-fitting footwear can have a huge impact on how we walk and therefore our posture. Avoid things like very high heels or heavy boots and opt instead for cushioned soles that give plenty of support.

8. Balanced Diet

A well balanced diet can positively the body in numerous ways, including an individuals spinal health. Poor food choices can result in excessive weight gain and even obesity. That, in turn, puts a lot of pressure on the back. Diet can also impact on what nutrients get to the spinal cord, so good choices will help maintain good spinal health well into later age.

9. Core Exercises

Spine health exercises normally focus on flexibility and the core. The core is the band of muscle that wraps around the stomach and is integral in maintaining good posture and a healthy back. Exercises like sit-ups or Pilates are ideal. Yoga, with its close focus on the spine, is also great for flexibility. 

10. Massage

Man receiving a back massage

Finally, for those who want to give their backs a real treat, the occasional massage will certainly help. It not only aids relaxation but improves blood flow and releases tension in muscles that tighten and cause discomfort.

A Common Problem

According to the statistics, 10% of the world’s population is suffering from a back problem at one time or another. These spinal care tips should help you to maintain good back health throughout your life.