Every year, millions of people make the same resolutions to lose weight, save more money, or get healthier. While these are all excellent choices for New Year’s goals, why not commit to starting some new, good habits that can have a positive impact on your health and happiness? We’re talking about taking small, simple steps that can promote a stronger back and free you from everyday back pain. If this sounds good to you, keep reading. At Flex Chiropractic, your local chiropractor in Columbia, our goal is to help people live your healthiest life and you can start by reading about these five healthy habits for a pain-free back.
Even though we told you that you should consider choosing a New Year’s resolution other than losing weight or getting in shape, exercise is still a very key element of maintaining a healthy back. Just look at all of the ways it can help:
- Strengthens core muscles for better posture
- Strengthens back muscles for fewer injuries
- Improves flexibility, reducing stiffness
- Increases blood flow, promoting healing
If you’re thinking of starting a new exercise routine, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor first. And, if you’ve been away from regular exercise for quite some time, it’s important to start out slow so you don’t risk injury. Just remember, if a particular exercise is causing more pain than relief, it’s a good idea to stop what you’re doing. You could be performing the exercise incorrectly, or your back may not be ready for it. Take it easy, but just keep moving.
Limit the Amount of Time You Spend Sitting
Many people have a hard time limiting the amount of time they spend sitting. You may have a desk job that gives you very little opportunity to stand. If this is your case, you could ask your employer about the option of getting a standing desk. These desks allow you to alternate between standing and sitting throughout the day and can make a big difference in reducing your back pain.
If a standing desk isn’t an option, take every chance you get to step away from your desk and go for a walk (within reason, of course!) By this, we mean that you should take advantage of your breaks and lunch hour to move around, climb some stairs if possible, and just get some exercise. When you get home at night, resist the urge to plant yourself on the couch for hours on end. A little bit of downtime is ok, but binging on an entire season of your favorite show while remaining motionless is not.
Invest In Quality Shoes
You could be doing all of the right things, but if you’re still wearing those trendy shoes with no cushioning or support, you’re likely going to have back issues. Most people spend a significant amount of time on their feet. Even if you have a desk job (another back pain culprit!) you still probably spend time on your feet walking to and from your car, doing chores around the house, and taking the dog for a walk. If you’re doing all of these things in shoes that don’t provide the amount of support you need, you could end up suffering from aching legs and a sore back.
While we aren’t suggesting that you run home and donate all of your most favorite sandals, heels, and boots, we do suggest that you invest in a couple of pairs of quality shoes to wear the majority of the time.
So what should you look for when your goal is to get shoes that will nurture a healthy back? Look for shoes that have good cushioning. This helps to reduce the impact of your foot hitting the hard ground. You’ll also want to pay attention to arch support. But, it’s not enough to just get a shoe with arch support — you have to make sure the arch of the shoe matches your own. Some people have high arches, while others have low arches, and yet others have almost no arch at all. When shopping for your shoes, visit a good, quality shoe store to make sure you’re getting properly fitted.
Focus on Proper Posture
Good posture is critical for maintaining a healthy back. It not only helps to prevent those everyday aches and pains associated with poor alignment and muscle fatigue, but it’s also how you prevent injuries from lifting, bending, and pulling. So, what exactly is “good” posture? When you have good posture, all of the bones in the spine are properly aligned with your body weight evenly distributed over your feet.
Proper alignment is the best way to take weight and stress off of your joints and muscles. You’ll instantly notice the benefit of proper posture when you’ve been slouching, sitting or standing in a bad position for a time and then you readjust your posture. You’ll likely feel instant relief.
Creating good posture habits aren’t achieved overnight. It’s something that you’ll have to work at and remind yourself to do, but it’s worth the effort. Write yourself notes, set reminders and alarms on your phone if needed. Once you create those healthy posture habits, you’ll likely have much fewer backaches, neck aches, and headaches.
If you haven’t heard by now, staying properly hydrated is important for just about everything — and maintaining a healthy back is no exception. The gelatinous discs in your spine contain water, and if you’re dehydrated, your discs will become dehydrated as well. This can be dangerous as it can cause your discs to shrink or collapse and not be able to provide the cushion needed to support the weight of your body. The lack of hydration can cause added pressure on your nerves, resulting in a very painful back.
Visit Flex Chiropractic If You Experience Back Pain
Changing some of your daily habits is a great way to prevent back pain. But, if you already suffer from back pain due to injury, overuse, or any number of reasons, the team at Flex Chiropractic of Columbia is here to help. We offer a variety of services beyond the standard chiropractic adjustment and we will work with you to develop the right treatment plan for your needs.
Visit our services page to read about all of the ways we can help alleviate your pain. From massage therapy and electrical stimulation to dry needling and cold-laser therapy, we believe in a holistic approach to health and wellness, and that what works for one person may not work for another. Visit our website or stop by our office and let us answer any questions or concerns you may have. We look forward to helping you live your best, healthiest life!