By Cheryl Caplow
Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans, a quarter of whom suffer from chronic lower back pain. If you experience serious back pain, even occasionally, you are not alone. We spend about $600 billion a year in treatment and lost productivity costs from these often mysterious ailments, according to a recent report from the Institute of Medicine.
Even if you don’t have a “bad back," any sort of physical pain can interfere with your daily life. In more severe situations, it can impact your quality of life—causing you to miss work and social activities that you enjoy and making you unable to accomplish even simple, everyday necessities.
Here are 10 tips for preventing back pain.
1. Listen To Your Back. If performing a certain activity is painful, it’s probably not good for you. Prevention is key. For instance, repetitive activities, or straining while lifting, can often cause lumbar spine pain. The Body Archer is an excellent way to stretch pulled back muscles, but ignoring back strain can make it much more challenging to treat.
2. Stay active. The best back exercise routine is one that combines stretching, strengthening, and aerobic activity. It doesn’t really matter if you go to a gym, walk, bike, swim, or just regularly run around with your kids or pets; staying active and keeping your body moving encourages spinal health.
3. Range of motion exercises. Learn how to stretch your back properly. Arching daily helps to keep joints flexible and relieves stiffness. Here are some great examples of how to incorporate the Body Archer into your flexibility routine. These arching positions for back pain also relax the neck and may decompress the spine as well.
4. Back Strength Workouts Such As With Weights or Machines. Avoid injury! Make sure to get instruction in the proper use of your equipment before beginning your back training program. Begin with lighter weights, but be sure to do your lifting every day to sustainably increase muscle strength. Strong muscles help support and protect your spinal health.
5. Low Impact Aerobic Exercise. Walking, biking, and swimming at least 2-3 times per week will increase stamina, and flexibility, and endorphin levels, often doing wonders to fix lower back pain.
6. Stretching Your Back. Regular stretching exercises aid muscular and spinal flexibility. They can also reduce joint stress, loosen up ligaments, and improve the flow of blood and nutrients throughout the body. A back exercise routine can offer advanced pain management, while preventing a stiff lower back or limitation of movement. If you start your day with a few back pain exercises at home, it will not only be invigorating, but can also promote spinal health.
7. Safe Lifting. Lift the right way to retain spine flexibility and prevent back pain: stand as close to the object as you can and use your legs to lift, instead of your back or upper body and avoid twisting. Bending your knees will keep your arms at the same height as the item. Be sure to keep your back straight. Don’t be afraid to ask for help for any items that are too heavy!
8. Healthy Sleep, Healthy Back. How much and how well you slept the night before can have a direct impact on how you feel and perform during the day. Sleeping on your side rather than on your stomach minimizes spinal strain. Putting a pillow under your knees when lying on your back, or putting a pillow between your knees when lying on the side can also help.
9. Adjust Your Back Position. Take a cue from your fidgety toddler and, when you’re forced to sit still for a while, move around at least every 20 minutes. Sitting on the Body Archer, you can rock from side to side during your day, stretching your hips and lower back. These back pain relief exercises in the home can relieve the tightness you feel after a long day. Using the Body Archer as a posture chair as a spine stretch machine settles your into a new position form the neck down. When you get up to take a break from work, you will also benefit from a higher level of standing comfort.
10. Work Smart With the Body Archer. Proper ergonomics can help reduce upper and lower back stress. Make sure your workspace, including keyboard, mouse, screen, phone and chair, is set up for your height and functionality.