Tips for a Healthy Spine
A healthy spine is an often-overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, approximately 80% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point. People who are overweight or obese, and who smoke, lift heavy objects, or have had a previous episode of back pain are more likely to experience back pain.
Because so many people suffer from spinal pain, it’s important for you to try to keep your spine as healthy as possible. Following simple posture, lifting, and healthy lifestyle guidelines can help you keep your back in good shape.
The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following spinal health tips:
- When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees slightly bent. This position helps to take the pressure off your low back.
- Keep your head level. Your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward or to the side.
- Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.
- At all times, avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine, especially while lifting.
- If the item is too heavy to lift, pushing it is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push the item.
- If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.
- Keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, with your head up and your back straight.
- Avoid rolling your shoulders forward (slouching).
- Try to maintain the natural curve in your low back.
- Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine. Other positions, such as a side position, may be better.
- Placing a pillow under your knees while lying on your back cuts the pressure on your spine roughly in half.
- Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may also reduce the pressure on your back.
- Never sleep in a position that causes a portion of your spine to hurt. Most often, your body will tell you what position is best.
- When texting, bring your arms up in front of your eyes so that you don’t need to look down to see the screen.
- When using a computer or mobile device, look down with your eyes, and if you wear glasses, make sure you also can scan the entire screen without moving your head.
- When sitting at a device, make sure your feet are firmly flat on the floor or footrest with your knees lower than your hips. Make sure you can use the device without reaching.
- Never pinch the phone between your ear and shoulder. Use a headset to reduce shoulder strain.
While it might not seem like much, looking down at our
phones for hours and hours is a really big issue. That
prolonged position puts stress on your cervical spine and
causes pain in the neck – literally.
ACA recommends that you rest your elbow on your
abdomen and hold the phone straight out in front of your eyes.
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