Thousands of people are affected by spinal pain and injuries every day. Having to live with back pain can have a negative impact on the quality of life as it may prevent you from enjoying social activities and being productive at work. Sometimes, severe spinal injuries or pain can also inhibit you from accomplishing simple everyday tasks.
According to the NINDS, back pain is the leading cause of disability and impairs the capacity to go to work. Therefore, taking good care of your spine, back, and neck will lower the chances of developing any back-related issues in the future. A strong backbone can make the activities and challenges of daily life much easier and less painful.
Most of the self-care tips to boost your spine health involve nothing more than adjusting your body mechanics while carrying out the daily activities throughout the day. In this article, we have put together a list of simple self-care tips that will help keep your spine in great health.
1. Engage In Regular Exercise
Without a doubt, exercise should be an essential part of your daily routine to maintain a healthy spine. Regular exercise can also help to rehabilitate spinal injury and prevent future damages. You don’t need to be an expert at exercise or physical health to engage your spine. A simple back exercise program that includes back, neck, abdomen, hamstring stretches or a daily thirty-minute jog can go a long way. Regular exercise will allow:
Circulation of nutrients throughout the spinal discs and soft tissues
Escalating healing process by reducing inflammation in the spine
Keeping the joints, ligaments, and muscles healthy and strong
There is no fixed time for a good fitness session, as some people prefer to work out in the morning, while others choose to exercise in the evening. After a few initial sessions, you can figure out what time suits you best. Remember to start slow and consult a professional if you are unsure how to go about the exercise routine.
2. Use Your Mind
Sometimes mindful meditation can help relieve chronic spinal discomfort and pain. Meditation is an effective tool for battling back pain, but it should be kept in mind that a single treatment may not work for everyone. You don’t need to meditate for hours; a good 15-minute session in a quiet room with no distractions should be sufficient.
Some people prefer to meditate in the dark, whereas others prefer the sunlight. You don’t have to be confined to your home to meditate. Sometimes, walking along the beach strip or sitting in a nice peaceful garden also helps to relax and relieve pain. Generally, a place where you feel the most comfortable is great.
3. Fix Your Posture
Your spine has a series of natural curves that allow you to walk, sit, stand, etc. It is important to keep your posture aligned and straight while you sit, stand, or lay down. If your posture does not support the arch or the natural curve of the spine, the chances of damage to the nerves in the spine increase.
You increase the load on your spine just by sitting, which may generate pain with time if you do not sit correctly. Incorrect posture can also increase the risk of spinal inflammation and nerve compression.
Try to take some time out to stretch your back or walk around, especially if you have a job that requires sitting for long hours. Other options include working at a standing desk or using a better chair that provides ample back support and comfort, such as the Soutien Ergonomic Office Chair – designed with a 3D lumbar support system and adjustable armrests. This chair offers the best seating experience that you could ask for and provides care for the back as well.
4. Go for a Walk
Walking has plenty of health benefits, including strengthening the core muscles that maintain the upright position of the body, nourishing the spinal soft tissues by supplying important nutrients, improving flexibility and balance, and supporting the core muscles and bones.
If you are experiencing discomfort or pain, make sure you speak with your doctor before starting regular walking sessions. Doctors often recommend walking as much as possible and initially covering short distances before moving on to walking further to improve your stamina and overall health.
5. Use Heat Therapy
Heat application around the spine increases blood flow and provides healing nutrients to the muscles. Heat therapy is also effective in reducing pain that occurs in the muscles and joints around the spine. Heat therapy can alleviate muscle spasms and distress. There are many options for the application of heat therapy, such as heat pads or wraps that can provide heat around the lower back.
You can also consider showering in hot water to reduce soreness in the back. Heat therapy is all about your personal preference, and you may need to try out a few options before deciding what works best for you.
6. Sleep On the Right Pillow
While lying down to sleep, you should place your pillow in such a way that it supports the neck and the lower back. The way you set your pillow depends on your sleeping position. For instance, if you sleep on your side, use a thick pillow to let your neck rest in the middle of the shoulders.
If you sleep on your back, use a thin or flat pillow so that your neck is not positioned too high. It would help if you also considered keeping a pillow under your knees to support the natural curve of your lower back.
In general, you should avoid curling up or sleeping on your belly, as these positions can increase the risk of developing spinal injuries or chronic back pain.
7. Eat Healthy Foods
The food that you eat every day plays a major role in determining the health of your spine. Try to limit your diet to organic food, including fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, and whole grains. These foods have anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in antioxidants. Foods that contain high amounts of calcium and other essential nutrients and vitamins, such as oatmeal, can also boost spinal health and prevent diseases like osteoporosis.
Eventually, you can limit the consumption of processed food and unhealthy sweet treats that cause health-related problems. Eating a healthy diet can help you maintain your ideal weight and reduce unnecessary pressure on your spine, thus, improving spine health.
8. Go for a Swim
Swimming or exercising in a pool reduces the stress of gravity as the water pressure helps to support the spine. If you don’t want to exercise, you can try walking in the pool as the friction against the water will help to strengthen your back.
Water therapy programs are great for the spine, especially when the water is warm as it relaxes the body and unwinds the sore muscles. Swimming is known to relieve back pain and condition the spine. The force of the water supports the weight of the body, thereby reducing the stress on the joints and the spine.
9. Consider Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is a good treatment option for spine health. It offers a multitude of benefits, such as improving blood circulation through the back, restoring the range of motion for the spine, helping with sleep deprivation issues, and increasing endorphin levels – the hormones responsible for uplifting the mood.
You can give yourself a lower back massage at home by using tennis balls to promote healing and strength. You can also visit a certified massage therapist for therapeutic massages, such as deep tissue massage.
10. Try to Quit Smoking
Most people overlook the side effects and consequences of smoking on their health. One of the major consequences of smoking is spinal disorders and severe back pain due to damage to the vascular structure of the spinal disc and joints. It is completely understandable that quitting can be a challenge, but there are several products, strategies, and support groups that offer help people get rid of this habit.
11. Get Quality Sleep
What is more important than the quantity of sleep is the quality you get. Sleeping well is an important factor in maintaining overall health. Your body requires good quality sleep to repair and regain strength. You should invest in a mattress and pillow that supports your back and promotes proper alignment. Also, make sure that you flip your mattress regularly to ensure that it stays even on both sides.
12. Stay Hydrated
Another important tip is to remain hydrated throughout the day. Hydration is important to maintain elasticity and fluidity in the joints. Ruptured or herniated spinal disks are a cause of lack of hydration or loss of fluids. Drink plenty of water (at least up to two to four liters per day) to keep your body active and fresh.
The above tips can be useful to indulge your spine and boost its health. Even the smallest changes in your everyday routine, such as buying the right office chair, can provide sustained and meaningful results with time.