If there is a universal ailment in the world, it must surely be back pain; few adults over thirty haven’t at least some familiarity with the subject. A huge percentage of the population is, has been and/or will be subject to back pain of one degree or another, but the cause can be anything from simple over-exertion to deteriorating bones. Possible remedies also vary considerably – from mild exercise to drastic surgery.
For an unspecific but undoubtedly huge percentage of back pain complaints, the best defence is preventive, and medical experts have been saying so for decades. Most of the health tips are just common sense, but still we ignore them until our own personal back pain gets our attention. If you heed the following simple tips, it’s an established fact that your odds of suffering chronic back pain will decrease dramatically.
Make a habit of walking (in proper walking shoes) as often as possible; even if your job requires long hours of sitting, break it up with short walks around your desk or work area. Note that ‘habit’ implies something you do without having to think about it. Experts say it takes about 20 days to form a habit; try it. While you’re at it, make a habit of good posture; standing or sitting up straight is no harder than slouching, and much kinder to your back.
Ideal posture when standing is with feet slightly apart so you’re balanced, and shoulders comfortably aligned with your ears and hips. If you sit for long periods of time at work or study, get a chair that helps keep your back straight, preferably one specifically designed for the purpose because it should also provide the most comfort.
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Stretching can help prevent and/or relieve back pain, and it’s something you can do any time, anywhere and as often as you think about it. If you doubt that statement, just think how good it feels to stretch out cramped muscles after they’ve been locked into one position for a while. Make a habit of stretching before bedtime too; combined with a firm mattress that supports your back; it will help you to sleep better, which in turn improves your overall health.
Now the harder part: keep the weight off. When your body is packing more weight than your bones and muscles are meant to support, back pain is often only one of the negative results, but it can be one of the most damaging. A healthy diet rich in the sort of nutrients your body needs (emphatically not the chips-and-soda so conveniently available) and moderate, consistent exercise can keep you on the good side of the back pain statistics.