Today it seems like back injuries are a way of life. Practically every block has at least one type of chiropractic service, all vying to heal your aching back – and significantly lighten your wallet.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The key to avoiding back injuries and those expensive medical bills is to stop the problem before it starts, and if it’s already started, fix it as soon as possible. Below are seven ways you can avoid injury, and remove existing back pain.
1. Strength Training. To keep a strong back, you must properly train it. Now, this doesn’t mean you go outside and start lifting boulders, absolutely not. That’s a surefire ticket to the ER. What you need is not just exercise, but proper exercise. Exercises that strengthen your core will also strengthen your back.
These include taking a yoga class, or some other sort of moderate (light sweat) daily exercise that is low impact (speed walking, and swimming are both great). Aim for at least 1 hour per day.
2. Posture. Do you sit at a desk slouched over all day? If so, that could be a contributing factor to your back pain. Try to sit up straight, with both feet firmly on the ground. This may not seem like much, but over time it will make a huge difference.
3. Lifting. We’ve all heard this saying before “Lift with your knees not your back”. We’ve all heard it, because it’s good advice. When bending down to lift something off of the ground, grasp the item with your hands, and then lift up with your legs, letting them do all of the work. This will take a large percentage of the stress off of your back.
4. Diet. A good diet is very important. Just like the rest of your body, the better you eat, the better your back will feel. Avoid fatty and fried foods, instead focus on eating lean meats, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains.
5. Smoking. If you smoke, stop immediately. Yes, I know, easier said than done. But the truth is, smoking causes your body to become more sensitive to pain, and reduces blood circulation. These are both bad in general, especially when it comes to back pain.
6. Calcium. Make sure you are getting enough calcium. Calcium strengthens bones and strong bones equals a strong back. If you’re over the age of 40, it would be a good idea to take a daily supplement. And you can accomplish this as easily as taking a couple tums per day, that’s it.
7. Shoes. Wearing the correct shoes is absolutely critical, especially if you have a job that requires a lot of standing or walking. Most people don’t think they need it but it’s a good idea to get fitted for a shoe by a professional. This may seem like overkill, but they can spot problems in your shoe wear pattern, and on the bottom of your feet. Once these problems are taken care of, back pain is easily resolved.
Hunter is a personal trainer and exercise blogger. If you hurt your back at work and need more informaiton on finding a workers compensation attorney.