If you suffer from any manner of back pain, you know how difficult daily life can be. Maybe it's time to (finally) do something about it. There's no sense in spending another year in pain, so when you're making your New Year's resolutions, consider what changes you can make to improve your spinal health. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Walking several times a week as a form of low-impact exercise can strengthen your muscles and reduce inflammation. You can make walking a part of your morning or evening routine. Be sure to consider your level of fitness as you begin. You may want to gradually increase your walking time over a period of many weeks or months, eventually working up to at least a 30-minute walk each session.
Get Enough Sleep
The chances are that if you experience chronic back pain, you may also be experiencing some form of sleep disorder. Sleeping at least eight hours every night is essential to maintaining good health. Some tips for getting enough sleep include:
- Sleeping on a mattress that provides the degree of support your back requires.
- Developing a nightly routine to train your body and mind to prepare for sleep.
- Getting out of bed if you are unable to fall asleep after a certain amount of time to avoid increasing your stress levels.
- Taking an all-natural sleeping aid.
Lose Excess Weight
Getting rid of extra weight on your body is not only good for your overall health, it can also reduce the burden on your spine. Being overweight can increase your chances of getting osteoarthritis, sciatica or disc herniation. Also, any added weight around your midsection can tug your pelvis forward, overstretching the ligaments and muscles in your lower back.
Smoking not only compromises your general health, it also increases your chances of developing arthritis and spinal conditions. It can weaken your bones and decrease the amount of blood that travels to your spinal discs. Use the boost in motivation during the New Year to replace habits you associate with smoking. If you need a little extra help, talk to your doctor about medications you can take to curb your cravings.
Don’t Sit Down (As Much)
Sitting down can compress your spinal discs three times more than standing up does. According to research, spending less time sitting down every day can decrease neck and back pain and enhance your mood. To reduce the amount of time you sit down, get up at least once an hour to improve the blood flow to your back muscles. For those who spend a lot of time sitting at a desk at work, consider investing in a convertible desk that allows you to take turns sitting and standing.
Makes this the year that you have better back health! If you have questions about the condition of your spine, contact Capital City Neurosurgery. Our spine surgeon, Dr. Kelly Kiehm, and the rest of the staff are eager to help you.