Back pain is often temporary. You pull a muscle, exercise improperly, suffer from poor posture or in some other way cause stress and strain on your back. The pain may last for a few hours, and then go away entirely. But studies have shown that over time, repeated back pain, even very mild in nature, can lead to chronic and debilitating back problems later in life.
Once you hit your 40s and 50s, your body is not as strong as it was when you were younger. This means that chronic back problems can have a bigger negative impact on your life and your body than when you were healthier. Practice the following 5 tips for a healthy and strong back now, and you limit your chances of suffering from back pain later in life.
1 – Stop smoking
I am sure you understand how unhealthy smoking is. But did you know it actually has been linked to higher instances of back pain than those who do not smoke? Scientists are not even sure exactly how smoking causes problems in your back. They believe it may have something to do with restricting the flow of blood which contains healthy nutrients. This leads to problems in your spinal discs, and a higher incidence rate of back pain in smokers.
2 – Stop sleeping on your stomach
Sleeping face down puts a lot of pressure on your back. Years of sleeping in this position can consistently and slowly damage your spinal alignment over time, causing serious back problems later on in life. When sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees. This cuts the amount of pressure on your spinal cord by half.
3 – Lose weight
If you can stay within about 10 pounds of your natural weight, you can drastically reduce your chances of suffering from back pain. Get more exercise and change your eating habits, and you can drop those extra pounds which cause back pain now and chronic pain as you age.
4 – Stop stressing out
Stress, anxiety and depression can cause short and long-term back pain. Any type of stress causes you to flex and tense your muscles. Constant worrying means that you are putting extra stress on your back all day long. Take up yoga or meditation, tai chi or deep breathing exercises to learn to handle stress better.
5 – Adopt proper posture, especially if you work in a sitting position all day
Proper posture is so important for a multitude of health reasons. When you slouch over in your chair or on the couch, you put incredible pressure on your lower back and pelvis. Texting, which you probably do dozens of times a day, also causes bad posture. Back pain is more prevalent among office workers and those who make a living sitting in front of the computer for several hours each day, so stand instead of sitting whenever you can.