Back-Healthy Habits

Unless you have an inflammatory condition such as Spondylolysis or have been the victim of a major trauma, such as a car accident, then the cause of your back problem is probably due to a variety of factors, including your posture and your lifestyle. In order to protect your back better, you may want to make some adjustments to reduce the amount of weight that your back must absorb. You may also may want to choose certain back-healthy habits that give your back a chance to heal properly while you are recovering from back pain. Let's look at some things you can do.

Posture. The way you stand sit, and walk may affect the amount of tension and pressure certain parts of your spine must endure, throughout the course of a day. "Sit up straight. Don't slouch." Are two commandments that you may have heard from your parents hundreds of times growing up. It turns out that those were two very good pieces of advice that were well worth heeding. Poor postural habits such as slouching, hunching over a desk or leaning back in your chair with your buttocks forward and your shoulders tilted back behind the chair may lead to back pain due to the added compression and tension these bad positions apply to your spinal discs and ligaments.

Lifting methods. If you are lifting objects that take a significant amount of effort on your part, or if you are regularly lifting heavy objects in your job or at home, then you are going to want to learn proper lifting methods. The way you lift objects may affect how much pressure and strain that you put on your back. Follow these guidelines for carrying or lifting.
  • Face the object that you are about to lift and get close to it before getting into position to pick it up.
  • Bend and lift using your knees and legs rather than with your back. Your back should remain straight throughout the process, and your neck should also remain straight.
  • Hold the object close to you.
  • Straighten your legs as you pull a heavy object off the floor.
  • If you think that an object is heavier than you would be able to safely lift and carry, recruit help.

Sleep: If you awaken with a backache, it may be time to evaluate if you are getting enough sleep if your mattress or sleeping habits are causing your symptoms. Though there are lots of new mattresses and mattress technology out there, marketed as cutting edge technology, most people report comfort and a good night sleep on a firm, but not too firm, mattress. If you think that your mattress is too soft, try inserting a piece of plywood between the mattress and box spring. Diet and Weight Management: Diet and weight loss may be an integral part of a program to get rid of back pain. Excess weigh puts more weight on the spine, and may bring about an abnormal kyphotic or lordotic curve, that could in turn put added pressures on the discs and nerve roots of your back. You may be able to successfully manage your weight through diet and exercise. Some diet programs are simply designed to cut back on consumption of fatty and sugary foods and to reduce portion sized during meals. Other diets are designed to cut back on all foods containing high carbohydrate concentrations (Atkins) or foods with a high glycemic index (South Beach Diet).