The importance of a healthy spine cannot be overstated, as the majority of your body is completely reliant on its performance. And yet, when one looks at the general posture habits of the current technologically-driven society, there is still a severe lack of awareness of how to properly care for this invaluable biological asset.
If you are worried about your spine or are currently suffering from any back pain, these 10 suggestions may help to improve your situation:
1. Upgrade Your Work Area
Thanks to the plethora of studies which have connected inadequate ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders, there are now plenty of solutions available to prevent these workplace injuries. Experiment with your desk height until your elbows are at a 45-degree angle or perhaps explore the idea of a standing desk. Another popular move is to swap out your office chair with a gym ball. And remember that your eyes should always be in line with the top of your monitor while your feet must be placed flat on the floor.
2. Wear the Appropriate Shoes
There are various different types of footwear available and for good reason. If you’re about to go for a run or are merely lounging around the house, ensure that your feet are comfortable and supported for the task. On that note, be very selective about your favorite pair of high heels, as this elevated position disrupts your core gravity and places excessive strain on your joints.
3. Move Around Regularly
If your professional environment requires you to sit down in one position for an extended period of time, you are at a high risk for back pain. Get into the habit of taking a short walk every half hour, stretching your spine out as you do so. If your boss’ watchful eye is looming, simply use this time to fetch water or initiate a work conversation with a colleague rather than emailing them.
4. Learn the Art of Lifting
When lifting heavy objects, it is imperative that you execute the correct technique as many back injuries are caused by these strenuous actions. The entire motion should be exclusively performed by your knees and hips, while your spine should not get involved whatsoever. If you’re currently injured, never endanger yourself and rather ask for help.
5. Be Aware of the Pain
Whether a dull ache or a sudden stabbing sensation running down your body, these are all warning signs. Do not ignore them. Go and speak to your doctor to better understand the situation, and then make a recovery plan. If it’s nothing serious, then simply slow your life down with an ice pack while looking into natural ways of achieving relief. If it’s a more critical diagnosis, then perhaps a wheelchair or one of those lift chairs for recovering accident victims may be worth considering.
6. Focus on Your Sleep
While it’s incredibly important to get your 7 – 9 hours of beauty rest a night, it’s also equally important that this is time well spent. If you are sleeping without adequate support, then your spine could suffer and you may wake up stiff and grumpy. Invest in a reputable mattress and pillows, preferably of a memory foam variation to hold your specific body shape in line.
7. Participate in Low-Impact Exercises
One can significantly reduce the risk of spinal injury by strengthening the surrounding supportive muscles. Your best approach is to concentrate on your core region as this will center your posture until your alignment comes naturally to you. Ideal activities include walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, and pilates, but there are also various other balance-improving exercises you can try at home.
8. Hold Your Phone Correctly
This may seem like a silly suggestion, but so many unhealthy spinal practices have risen in correlation to the increase of phone usage, and this needs to be rectified. When typing a message, do not tilt your head downwards and rather raise the phone into alignment with your eyes. If you are often talking on the phone while you work, keep in mind that the device should remain in your hand, because a phone held between your head and shoulder is an unnatural angle for your neck.
9. Set an Alarm
The idiom “practice makes perfect” can apply to many aspects of life and this includes your spinal calibration. If you regularly catch yourself slouching over your desk, you may need a better method of drilling the awareness into your regular thought processing. With that in mind, why not set an hourly alarm to gently remind you to adjust your posture? You’ll be surprised at how quickly it becomes an automatic movement.
10. Be Happy
Easier said than done, but stress and depression can both manifest physically, sometimes forming tension in the muscles, a stiff demeanor, or even a slumped posture. If life has been filled with chronic stress, then perhaps you need to step back and reevaluate your options. Yoga and meditation are popular relaxation choices for excellent reasons, and an additional focus on your breathing can make all the difference to your day.