Be kind to your back and you’ll improve your chances that your back will be kind to you. There are many things you can do to keep your back in tip-top shape. Here are some suggestions*:
- Posture matters. If you experience back or neck pain, check your posture. When standing, placing one foot in front of the other relieves pressure on your lower back. Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips when sitting. Use a step stool when reaching for things that are higher than your shoulders. When sleeping, put a pillow under your knees if you’re on your back, or between your knees if you’re on your side.
- Get up and move. Simple daily exercise such as walking, swimming or biking in addition to specific back strengthening exercises, will help keep your back happy and healthy.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Watch your weight. Added weight puts extra strain on your back. Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. And stop smoking. Smokers are more prone to back pain than non-smokers.
- Lift with your legs. Tackling a heavy item can compromise your back’s health. Kneel to pick up a heavy object and lift with your legs, keeping the object as close to you as possible. Splitting a heavy load into lighter loads makes it easier and safer to carry.
*Tips from the North American Spine Society.