Your back is an amazing, intricate system that provides foundational support for your entire body. An injured or aching back can wreak havoc on your life – you never realize how much you rely on your back until it is causing you pain. And while sometimes back pain is unavoidable without professional treatment, there are some things you can do to protect your spine and prevent injury.

Causes of Back Pain

Your spine consists of 33 bones (vertebrae) separated and connected by cartilage, tissue, and joints. Like every system of your body, these elements can become inflamed, degraded, and/or injured, causing pain. Back and neck pain is usually caused by muscle strain – either from inactivity or overuse – weakness, and/or a lack of tone.

Tips for Keeping Your Spine Healthy

Here are some practical activities that can strengthen and support your spine and overall health.

  • Stretch – Create and maintain a routine of targeted stretching for your back. Yoga can be a great way to do this.
  • Strengthen – The stronger the muscles in and around your back are, the better protected your back will be from injury. Strengthening your core, the muscles in your abdomen and lower back, is especially important in spine health. Normal daily activities don’t usually engage your core muscles, so it is important to incorporate targeted core exercises into your routine.
  • Get moving – Sitting for extended periods of time can cause strain and stiffness in your back. If you must sit for a long time, take breaks to move, stretch, and take a walk. Strive for good posture when sitting, standing, or staying in one position for a while.
  • Beware of inflammatory foods – Dairy, red meats, refined sugar, and processed foods can cause inflammation in your body, which can lead to or increase back pain. Try reducing or eliminating these foods from your diet, and choose plant-based foods instead, if suffering from back pain.
  • Use caution when lifting – You’ve probably heard it before – lift with your legs, not your back! When lifting a heavy load, keep your back straight, your knees bent, and use the strength of your legs to power your lift, not your back muscles.
  • Exercise – Aim for at least two and a half hours of exercise with moderate intensity, such as walking or cycling, each week. Swimming or doing water aerobics can help alleviate muscle pressure while allowing for movement.
  • Rest your back – Sleep is incredibly important for your spine as well as your overall health. Make sure you are giving your spine the time it needs to rest each night and select a mattress and pillow that will support natural spine alignment.
  • Wear supportive shoes – A good shoe with arch support that fits snugly around your heel can provide a solid base to support good posture and a strong back.
  • Enjoy a massage – A professional back massage can reduce stress, increase blood flow, and loosen tight muscles and tissues.

While each of these techniques is accessible and supports a healthy and strong back, none can replace the guidance and expertise of a medical professional if you are experiencing neck or back pain.

At Englewood Spine, our goal is to provide the highest quality, personalized care to meet your needs. We strive to provide you with the necessary time for us to understand your challenges and to have your questions answered as they relate to your neck and back issues. We want to educate you on your condition and provide you with all available treatment options to help you make an informed decision, seeking to treat our patients with the most conservative approach possible. If conservative care fails, we have many state-of-the-art, minimally invasive solutions that can be tailored to treating your condition.

If we can help you feel better so that you can get back to living with less pain, contact us today.

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Englewood Spine Associates