You already know — or should know by now — not to bend at the waist when you pick something up. Instead, bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back. That’s common sense and it will protect your back from injury. Five other common sense tips to keep your back healthy are presented below.
1. Twist and Shout
Twisting will cause you to shout in pain, so avoid it and save your back. If you’ve had back problems before, avoid twisting altogether. Twisting with your back, especially while you’re bending or lifting, is a surefire way to cause injury. Reposition yourself instead. Move your feet.
2. Sit Up Straight
We all spend a lot of time in a sitting position. If you maintain good posture while you sit, you are more likely to avoid hurting your back. Keep both feet on the floor and make sure your knees are roughly even with your hips. Lean back into the chair and pull your shoulders back gently. Now relax. That feels better, doesn’t it?
3. Sleep Better for a Better Back
Firm mattresses are better for your back. In addition, when you sleep, the goal should be to keep your spine straight. Wrap a sheet around your waist if you sleep on your side. Put a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back. Don’t sleep on your stomach, if you can avoid it.
4. Reach for Goals, Not Shelves
Reaching for something that’s too high can torque and twist your back, putting pressure on both sides of your spine in different directions. That even sounds painful. So don’t reach for anything above shoulder height. Get a stool. Get someone taller. Don’t hurt yourself while reaching.
5. Get Help When You Need It
Occasionally, we all do something wrong — twist, lift or bend the wrong way — and we feel it immediately. If you hurt your back, don’t wait for the pain to go away on its own. Visit your doctor or your spine specialist at the Southeastern Spine Institute. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and even it’s nothing, the doctor can give you something for the pain.