"I got your back!" -Your Spine
According to the American Chiropractic Association's official website, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. Imagine there's exactly 240 million Americans over the age of 18. That means almost 13% of American adults are experiencing back pain right now.
The spinal column consists of 33 individual bones, known as vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other.The natural curves of spine along with the discs serve as stress/shock absorbers Attached to the spine are some 120 muscles and ligaments, and 30 different pairs of spinal nerves. The muscles hold everything together and the ligaments allow us to bend and move our spine without damage. With all of the different elements needed to keep our spine in good health, its easy to see how back pain can affect so many Americans.
If you get a flat tire, you fix it before it causes serious damage to your vehicle, right? Treat your back with the same respect. Think proactively so you can keep your body mechanics functioning up to speed while preventing future potential damage.
How do I protect my Spine?
Proper body mechanics are a vital part of keeping you and your spine both healthy and happy. When we don't move properly and safely, we run the risk of spinal degeneration. Good posture, proper lifting and the right sleeping position are just a few things that can benefit you and your back in the long run.
Correct your posture:
- Bad posture leads to painful degenerated discs or back pain.
- Support the natural curve of your spine by maintaining a neutral spine position.
- Set alarms throughout the day to check your posture.
- Don't sit for long periods of time. Get up at least once an hour to keep your blood flowing and your back healthy.
Lift heavy objects properly:
- Lifting heavy objects incorrectly can lead to injury, even in younger people.
- Bending with your knees and hips is much more conducive for your back's health than bending with your back. NEVER bend and lift with your back.
- Pushing is always better than pulling. Pulling can cause unwanted tension or strain in the back. Pushing uses more of your body than just your back, which aids in redistributing weight.
Be conscious of your sleeping positions:
- Doctors recommend sleeping on one side on a firm, comfortable bed. This position releases built-up stress on your back.
- Keeping a pillow between your legs can help reduce pressure from building on your hips.
- Sleeping on your stomach can exaggerate your spinal arch which can lead to injury or strain.
Exercise and strengthen your core:
- Most of our daily activities do not properly work our core.
- Adding a 20-30 minute targeted workout can help strengthen your core while preventing future injuries.
- Our feet play an important role in your back's health.
- Shoes are the supportive base needed to assist your spinal and body alignment.
- Consider shoe orthotics or inserts to further benefit your balance and back.
All it takes are a few minutes a day to work towards a healthier back. Good posture, proper lifting with your knees and hips, sleeping correctly, exercise and well-fitting shoes aren't the only steps you can take in protecting your back.These are just a few steps in the right direction to a healthier and happier you.
Support your spine because your spine has always supported you.
For additional information on how you can protect your back using proper body mechanics, click the image below to receive a free digital copy of OrthoNeuro's Basic Body Mechanics for Daily Living Book.