Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to a medical doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. In fact, some experts say, as many as 80% of us will experience a back problem at some time in our lives. Your spine takes a lot of stress everyday with improper sitting, reaching, lifting and even normal activities such as walking and playing with your children. Here are 5 tips for preventing back pain, Sioux Falls chiropractic style.
1. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight
We know, this is a hard one! Thankfully you are not alone. Many Americans struggle to maintain a healthy diet and weight. If you can, quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
At Sioux Falls Chiropractic, we are excited to offer nutritional counseling in addition to our other chiropractic and rehabilitative services. If you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle mass and get healthier, we want to help. We also offer acupuncture which can be quite effective in both weight loss and cessation of smoking.
2. Remain Active and Don't Forget Stretching
It seems somewhat counter-intuitive, but sitting is one of the worst things for your back and body. Our bodies are made to move. It is inactivity that causes many issues in the back. Being active doesn't mean you need to take up CrossFit, it just means intentionally and gently using your muscles and joints to keep them active.
Include gentle stretching in your daily routine. Stretching is a wonderful compliment to chiropractic care. It can actually help your back stay in better alignment for longer periods. If you want tips on safely increasing your activity level, contact your chiropractor or medical doctor.
3. Wear Comfortable Shoes
If you like shoes, you know that often the most popular shoes are not at all sensible. But your back supports the weight of your body with direct help from your feet. If your feet are not in proper-fitting, comfortable and supportive shoes then your body starts to compensate. You hold yourself differently. You walk differently. Over time, wearing shoes that don't support proper posture puts a lot of wear and tear on your spine.
Something as simple as a foot orthotic insole and supportive low-heeled shoes can do wonders for your alignment. We offer custom foot orthotics at Sioux Falls Chiropractic and we have seen amazing results with our clients.
4. Sleep on a Good Mattress
Hands-down the most used piece of furniture in your house is your bed. Make sure you get a good one! Pillow-soft mattresses feel amazing in the moment, but they do nothing to help your spine maintain alignment. When it comes time to purchase a new mattress, look for something with a medium firmness. You want support, not fluff!
When it comes to sleeping positions, try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can cause neck pain from twisting your head to the side to breathe. Hands down, back sleeping is the best position as it spreads your body weight over a greater surface area. Some back sleepers like to use a small pillow to comfortably elevate their knees. Sleeping on your side is the next best thing, just be sure you have a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. You may also want a small pillow between your knees to lessen the stress on your hips and low back.
5. Utilize Good Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of how you move and interact with objects in your work environment. This encompasses how you sit when working and how you lift objects. Work with your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that your workstation is ergonomically correct. They are a great wealth of knowledge and can really help you make minor adjustments that will prevent back pain.
When you have to lift a heavy or awkwardly-sized object, remember to lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting. Sioux Falls Chiropractic's Dr. Christine Brandner says that twisting is one of the worst things you can do for your discs!
6. Get Regular Chiropractic Adjustments
If your spine is in proper alignment, back pain is much less likely. Regular adjustments from a trained chiropractor don't just feel good, they actually help maintain the health of your spine. Chiropractors are trained doctors with knowledge of both the structure and function of the human body. We are uniquely equipped to take conservative steps to improve your spinal function without costly and painful interventions and surgeries to correct your back pain.
Remember, The Best Treatment is Always Prevention!
Back pain is an unfortunate part of life for most of us at some point or another. Pain is an indicator that something is off and needs correction. Back injuries can cause either a sharp pain or a dull ache and they are occasionally accompanied by a tingling, numbness, or even a burning sensation. Certain injuries can also cause leg or pelvis pain, weakness, or numbness, known as sciatica.
Fortunately, the spine is great at healing itself. Most minor injuries heal within a day or two. If you experience intense pain or pain that doesn't go away, consult your chiropractor immediately.
Sioux Falls Chiropractic doctors offer free consultations. If you would like to talk with us about any of the tips above, we would love to meet with you!
If you already have pain, we can help right now with free video-guided stretches! Click below to view.