Almost everyone has at least one bad back habit. Slouching, sitting for long periods of time, and even wearing high heels on a regular basis are all bad for your back and spine. Over time, these habits contribute to chronic back pain.
No one knows how much everyday habits can hurt your back better than spine specialists like board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD, of The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas. Dr. Jones helps patients with a full range of back and spine issues improve and recover. Do you have these bad back habits?
Slouching contradicts your spine's natural alignment and puts additional strain on your back. Good posture is crucial to spine health when you’re sitting and standing. If you find yourself slouching frequently, take steps to stop this bad back habit.
Make an effort to think about your posture wherever you go. Whether you're sitting on the couch, at a desk at school, standing at work, or doing anything else, always consider your posture and what you can do to improve it.
To practice good posture, keep your head up and forward and your shoulders back but relaxed.
Sitting for long periods
If you tend to sit too much, you’re hurting your spine health. Sitting places 40% more strain on your spine than standing does. But maintaining proper posture may honestly be the last thing on your mind when you're pressed for time at work.
On a busy day, taking regular stretching breaks may not seem like a good way to spend your time. However, skipping them may result in back pain. This is because if you don't use your back muscles, they weaken; inactive joints lose lubrication and age faster.
If you sit for an extended period at work or at home, it’s best to take brief walking breaks to stretch your legs and get some movement. Even a short walk to the water cooler at work can benefit your spine health.
Sleeping on an unsupportive mattress
A quality mattress is essential not only for a good night's sleep, but also for the health of your back. A medium-firm mattress offers support and pressure relief. Older mattresses can sag and become lumpy, causing your back to contort while you sleep. Take some time to shop for and choose a mattress that supports your spine’s natural alignment.
If you already have lower back pain, consider your sleeping position. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees is an excellent sleeping position for relieving back pain. Placing the pillow between your knees helps align your hips, pelvis, and spine.
Eating a diet that doesn’t support your bones
You might be surprised to learn that diet can have a significant impact on back and spine health. Unhealthy foods can contribute to weight gain, and being overweight puts additional strain on your back.
However, weight isn't the only factor at play. Your spine's bones, muscles, and other structures require proper nutrition in order to be strong enough to support the body and perform their functions effectively.
Calcium and vitamin D are widely recognized as vital nutrients for bone health. Rich calcium sources include dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, while fatty fish is an excellent source of vitamin D.
Magnesium is another important mineral that promotes bone density and is found in foods such as fish, beans, seeds, nuts, yogurt, avocado, and bananas.
Lack of exercise
Skipping out on exercise, particularly physical activities that strengthen your core, may result in poor posture and increase your risk of low back pain. Pilates and other core strengthening activities that can increase back muscle stability are good exercises for back pain prevention. Yoga is also excellent for keeping your spine flexible.
Developing back-supporting habits is especially important if you’re recovering from a back injury or have a back condition. Dr. Jones can help you keep your back as healthy as possible.
If you’re having back pain or you’re concerned about your back health, schedule a visit at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas in Pearland or Lake Jackson, Texas, by calling or booking online today.