A healthy spine is an often overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle. People who suffer from back pain, particularly if it is long-term, are generally less healthy than those who do not. In fact, back pain costs are staggering not only financially, but also in terms of lost time from work and because of psychosocial problems that arise during the healing process associated with long-term back pain.
Unfortunately, approximately 80-90% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point. People who are overweight or obese, and who smoke, lift heavy objects, or had a previous episode of back pain, are more likely to experience back pain.
Because so many people suffer from spine pain, it’s important for you to try to keep your spine as healthy as possible. Following simple posture, lifting, and healthy lifestyle guidelines can help you keep your back in good shape.
The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following spinal health tips:
When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This position helps to take the pressure off your low back.
Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your low back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.
At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine, especially while lifting.
If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.
If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.
Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight.
Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).
Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.
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