Just because your spine is designed to be fairly durable and flexible doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from some support now and then. The big payoff for being diligent about supporting your back is a reduced risk of developing chronic spine-related aches and pains. Keep reading to discover three everyday, easy-to-implement ways to support your back.
In general, sitting isn’t good for your back because it places extra pressure on spinal discs, bones, joints, and muscles. If you throw poor posture into the mix, it’s easy to see how prolonged sitting can contribute to spine-related discomfort. Support your back more effectively as you sit by:
• Keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle with your feet firmly on the floor
• Using a chair that supports your spine’s natural curve
• Placing a rolled-up towel behind your lower back or using a lumbar support cushion if you don’t have an ergonomically designed chair
• Sitting up straight with your ears above your shoulders
• Not slouching forward
Your spine will also thank you if you make an effort to get up every 30 minutes or so to walk around and stretch. Also, consider alternative seating options, such as sit-to-stand desks and balance ball chairs.
Supporting your back means strengthening the muscles that directly or indirectly ease stress on it. Your doctor or a physical therapist can recommend specific stretch routines, but generally, you should target spine-supporting muscles with stretches that increase:
• Circulation so your spine gets more beneficial nutrients
• Your spine’s strength and endurance
• Flexibility and range of motion
Once you learn how to safely do stretches that target spine-supporting muscles, you should be able to do them at home on your own time. Stop if you notice unusual discomfort, and pay attention to any guidelines your doctor provides. If you’ve been treated for back issues, make sure to follow your doctor’s advice, especially if you’ve had a procedure such as an alternative to spinal fusion. Beverly Hills patients should work with medical professionals to make sure they learn how to perform stretches safely.
Another way you can support your back is with aerobic forms of exercise. Since you can overdo it with activities of this nature, focus on low-impact aerobic exercises. The purpose here is to increase circulation while strengthening your spine and the soft tissues that support it.
From walking to bike riding, there are many options for low-impact aerobic exercise. Avoid overstressing your spine and its supporting parts by starting slowly and working your way up to longer periods of exercise based on what’s comfortable for you. When done properly, low-impact aerobic exercise has the potential to:
• Reduce stress on your lower back, since exercise minimizes excess weight
• Naturally ease pain due to the increase in “feel-good” hormones called endorphins
• Make it easier to function daily
If you’re just getting started with exercise or need some additional advice about other lifestyle adjustments that could be equally beneficial for your back, see what your doctor or Beverly Hills spine surgeon has to say. Also, be mindful of your posture as you sit, stand, and sleep.
If you need personal guidance on how to support your spine, make an appointment today with one of the pioneering physicians at The Spine Institute. Our spinal health experts lead the industry in every aspect of neck and back health. Reach out to one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757.