11 steps to follow of a healthier back

by The Orange Chiropractor on July 22, 2010

Below are 11 easy steps, that if followed, will improve the overall integrity of your back while at the same time reducing the potential for the development of degenerative arthritis, low back injury and low back pain.

  1. Always warm-up and stretch before exercise or other strenuous physical activity. If you are beginning an exercise program for the first time or are starting back after a prolonged period of inactivity, begin your program with routine low-impact exercises. Yoga, swimming, speed walking, or stationary bike riding 30 minutes a day can increase muscle strength, posture and flexibility. Ask your chiropractor for a list of low-impact, ‘core stabilizing’ exercises appropriate for your age. Core stabilizing exercises focus on strengthening, in tandem, the lower back and abdominal musculature.
  2. Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet. Your back supports weight most easily when curvature is reduced.
  3. At home or work, make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height for you.
  4. Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  5. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes with supportive arches.
  6. Sleep on your side or back to reduce any curve in your spine. Always sleep on a firm surface.
  7. Drink eight, eight ounces of purified water each day. 75% of the weight of the upper body is supported by water volume that is stored in the disc core; 25% is supported by fibrous material around the disc. (Batmanghelidj MD)
  8. Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Keep the object close to your body. Do not twist when lifting or when setting the object down.
  9. Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that stresses lower back muscles. Sufficient daily intake of vitamin D, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, along with weight-bearing exercise will help promote new bone growth.
  10. If you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces blood flow and oxygen to the muscles and spine, causing the muscles and intervertebral ‘spinal’ discs to degenerate.
  11. Visit a chiropractor for routine check-ups. Keeping your spine and other joints of the body are in proper alignment and moving freely with unrestricted range of motion will reduce ware and tear by keeping the body bilateral and symmetrical; it will also promote unrestricted nerve and blood flow throughout the body

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