Lifestyle Changes To Ease Back Pain

   Lifestyle Changes To Ease Back Pain

Back pain is a common issue affecting people of all ages — athletes and non-athletes alike. The World Health Organization estimates that the global burden of back pain will rise to 850 million by the year 2050, so if you're dealing with back pain, know that you're far from alone. 

Back pain can significantly impact your quality of life, whether due to poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, an injury, or the natural wear and tear of aging. 

Fortunately, making a few lifestyle changes can help alleviate back pain — and that's precisely what the International Spine, Pain & Performance Center team is here to discuss. Read on as the team shares lifestyle changes that can help ease your back pain. 

Focus on your posture

While standing tall can make you feel empowered and confident, your posture is more than looks. It can also contribute to—or help alleviate—your back pain. 

That's because your entire body is connected through your kinetic chain, and when part of your chain is misaligned, it can hurt the rest of your body. For instance, if you carry a messenger bag on one shoulder and slouch while you walk, your back (and neck!) are likely to hurt.

Here are a few tips to improve your posture:

Sit properly

Sit with your back straight and your shoulders back. Use a chair with good lumbar support (or add a lumbar pillow),  and keep your feet flat on the floor. 

Consider trying an  ergonomic desk and chair, especially if you spend long hours sitting.

Stand correctly

Stand with your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Avoid slouching or leaning to one side. Back to the kinetic chain, if you stand for hours on end with poor shoes, your foot troubles could contribute to your back pain. Wear supportive shoes and stand on a cushioned mat.

Exercise regularly

Exercise helps ease back pain by strengthening the muscles supporting your spine and improving flexibility. Consider these activities:

A strong core provides better support for your spine. Incorporate core-strengthening exercises, such as planks, bridges, and supermans, into your routine. 

Avoid high-impact activities that strain your joints; always use proper lifting techniques if you lift weights.

Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying excess weight, particularly around your middle, puts additional strain on your lower back. Exercise and a healthy diet can help you maintain a healthy weight. 

Stay hydrated and eat nourishing foods

Food won't cure your back pain, but it can nourish your body and help you heal (if you're injured) or support joint health (if you're dealing with arthritis). Focus on anti-inflammatory foods like salmon, ginger, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables, and 100% whole grains.

The cartilage and discs in your spine contain 80% water, so drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Replace your mattress

A good night's sleep can also help improve your pain tolerance, while lack of sleep can do the opposite. Unfortunately, your sleeping position and mattress quality can significantly impact your back health. 

Consider these tips:

Remember your pillow! Use a pillow to support your head and neck properly. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to keep your spine aligned.

Manage your stress levels

Stress can contribute to muscle tension and back pain. It can also make your pain seem more intense. Manage your stress with your favorite stress management techniques. Reading a good, massage, deep breathing, yoga, exercise, and guided meditations are all options for reducing your cortisol levels. 

Quit smoking

Smoking can impair blood flow to your spine and increase the risk of degenerative spinal conditions. Quitting smoking can improve overall health and reduce back pain. If you need help quitting, explore the Virginia Department of Health smoking cessation resouces or talk to us.

Get help for back pain

While all of these lifestyle changes can help ease pain, they might not address the root cause of your pain. That's where we come into the picture. The International Spine, Pain & Performance Center team is an expert in managing back pain.

Depending on your needs, our team offers:

The best part is that all of these treatments for back pain complement healthy lifestyle modifications.  

To explore your back pain treatment options, visit us  in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia. You can also use our online form to book your next appointment.

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