Your back contains 33 vertebrae. They protect your spinal cord, which connects your brain to the nerves, tissues, and muscles throughout your body. And in many ways, your overall well-being centers around the health of your back.
Your back is susceptible to injury, whether it’s strain from lifting something heavy or degeneration over the years. Focusing on back health is important, particularly because up to 8 in 10 American adults will suffer back pain at some time in their lives.
Today, we’re sharing some of our best tips for strengthening your back to reduce pain and prevent injury.
1. Incorporate stretching and exercise
Back pain can make exercising uncomfortable, but living a sedentary lifestyle often exacerbates back problems. Incorporating activity into your daily life is one of the best ways to build a better back.
Gentle stretching, strength training, and aerobic exercises can increase your mobility and help you stave off back pain. Talk to our back experts to learn more about the types of exercise and stretching that could be right for you.
2. Practice good posture
Staying active is good for your back, but many people have office jobs that require sitting at a desk for most of the day. That’s why practicing proper posture when you’re sitting is crucial for building a stronger back.
Sit up straight by envisioning a string connecting the top of your head down to your belly button. Make sure your desk chair has adequate low back support and strive to keep your knees level with your hips.
Even if your job has you on your feet most of the time, it’s still important to maintain proper posture when you’re standing. Stand up straight, with your shoulders back. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and stand with your knees slightly bent.
3. Learn to lift properly
Lifting heavy objects is a leading cause of back strain and injury. To avoid hurting your back, lift with your legs. Keep your back straight and don’t twist as you lift.
Twisting when you’re lifting or reaching can trigger a muscle strain or other injury along your spine. If you need to lift or move something heavy, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lifting with another person balances the object’s weight and may take strain off your back.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese puts extra strain on your body, and your back is no exception. Extra weight can contribute to increased back pain and may increase your risk of suffering herniated discs or compressed nerves.
Living a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, is the best way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Not only does a health weight help improve back health, but it may also reduce symptoms of other conditions like arthritis or knee pain.
5. Get professional support
Back pain that interferes with your daily life is a sign that you should go to the doctor. If you have back pain, our team can recommend a personalized program to strengthen your back and help reduce discomfort.
Physical therapy includes structured, customized exercises to target back muscles. It builds strength and increases your range of motion, and it can be an ideal option if you’re struggling with a bad back.