We’re all too familiar with back pain, and one of its primary causes: spine strain. A strain happens whenever a tendon or muscle is injured, often due to excessive pressure, abnormal movements, or dehydration. Eventually, when a ligament or a muscle becomes torn, frayed, strained, or otherwise injured, we’re left with acute back pain that can sometimes be debilitating.
However, there are many daily activities we do that increase our risks of straining our spine and surrounding tissue. Keep reading to learn some ways to prevent spine strain and back pain, courtesy of ChiroCare of Florida.
10 Ways to Prevent Spine Strain
To avoid spine strain, we have to understand the things that cause them in the first place. A simple rapid twist motion can lead to a muscle strain, sitting for too long without stretching can cause spine strain, and so on. Keep these prevention tactics in mind to make sure you’re not placing any added stress or pressure to your spine.
1. Stay Hydrated
It’s easy to forget about this one. Drinking plenty of water makes sure our spinal discs stay hydrated and that our body remains fluid, rather than stiff. By drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water per day, you can ensure your intervertebral discs are hydrated, keeping them healthy, so they can continue to function as shock absorbers.
2. Learn Lifting/Pushing Safety
One of the most common ways we add strain to our spine is by either lifting or pushing heavy objects without proper posture. Safe lifting involves using your legs, not your back, to carry heavy objects. To do so, bend your knees and tighten your core muscles, keep the object being lifted close to your body, and lift from the knees, not the lower back.
3. Minimize Twisting Motions
Whenever we make twisting motions we’re asking our spine to do something amazing that requires precise movements and flexibility. It’s important to know that whenever you’re lifting heavy objects, you should never twist your spine. The same applies when doing housework or any sort of heavy work. Listen to your body whenever you’re performing twisting movements, if you feel any discomfort, stop immediately and avoid the movement as much as possible.
4. Condition Your Core Muscles
Exercise is paramount to a healthy spine and body. When it comes to preventing back pain, the most important muscle group is your core. So think about your abdominal muscles, they’re the ones giving your spine and back support to lift, push, twist, and maintain good posture. Make sure to include core strengthening exercises in your workout routine to condition your abdominal muscles to stay healthy and active.
5. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Not only is maintaining a healthy weight necessary to prevent a myriad of diseases and discomforts, but it’s also crucial for maintaining good posture. When you maintain a healthy weight, you’re making sure there’s no compression on your spine loading your intervertebral discs. Keeping a healthy weight also helps prevent poor posture, and prevents stiff or weak muscles.
Learn more about how chiropractors can assist your weight loss program.
6. Stretch Forever
Whether you actively exercise or not, stretching should be part of your daily routine. Make sure to warm up before every exercise routine for at least 5-10 minutes to acclimate your muscles and prevent injury. Also, make sure to cool down after your workout sessions with a stretching routine. Stretching helps relieve muscle tightness, which is one of the leading causes of back pain. Stretching also helps improve posture, promotes ideal spinal alignment, relieves joint strain, and soothes sore muscles.
Try one of these chiropractors recommended stretches and exercises.
7. Find a Comfortable Sleeping Position
We spend a lot of our lives on our mattresses. It’s paramount for your spine health to find a sleeping position that prevents placing any additional strain on your back or neck. The ideal sleeping position will vary depending on your aches and your body.
Check some of the best sleeping positions for your body according to a chiropractor for some ideas.
8. Focus on Posture
Maintaining proper posture can help prevent back pain. We must make a conscious effort to stay aware of our posture. Avoid slouching when standing or sitting, sit up straight with your back against the back of your chair and your feet flat on the floor. Always make sure to maintain a neutral spine, one that doesn’t feel stretched or strained at any point.
Here are some tips for maintaining good posture.
9. Stay Active
Beyond working out and stretching, we also have to make a conscious effort to interrupt long periods of sitting or standing. This is particularly important for people in the workforce. Whether you work a desk job or are always on your feet you have to switch from sitting and standing throughout the day.
On the one hand, sitting adds too much pressure on the spine and can compress the spinal discs leading to problems in the long run. If you’re always standing, we tend to load one side of our bodies with more weight than the other, eventually leading to spine misalignments that can lead to back pain and nerve issues like sciatica.
10. Practice Preventative Care
We can’t wait until our back pain becomes chronic to take care of our health. Choosing preventative care means taking a holistic approach to our spinal wellness. Through practices such as massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and other spinal treatments, you can make sure your muscles, joints, and spine are receiving proper care to stay in the best shape possible.
Keeping these tips in mind daily will help you turn these activities into habits to care for your spine. At ChiroCare of Florida, our team of caring chiropractors is always available to discuss how to improve your spinal wellness and to create an active wellness plan to make sure your spine, muscles, and joints are functioning at their best. Reach out to a ChiroCare of Florida office near you and schedule your appointment to give your spine and health some much-needed care.