Back pain can range in intensity from a minor twinge or dull ache to intense, crippling pain. Back pain affects nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population at one point or another. And while the older you get, the more susceptible you are to back pain, it’s not an inevitable part of the aging process.
If you’re starting to experience back pain, there’s a good chance it’s not your age that’s causing it. While not all back pain is preventable, certain healthy habits are effective in many cases for preventing back pain. Beneficial lifestyle choices minimize existing back pain or speed your healing process. Take care of your back, and you may never have to experience those twinges of discomfort.
Preventing Back Pain with Exercise
Exercise is one of the most important healthy lifestyle choices you can make when it comes to preventing back pain. If you’re already experiencing some discomfort in your back, you may feel that the last thing you want to do is exercise, but it’s a great way to strengthen your body, ultimately reducing your pain.
Physical activity has many other benefits that help with everything from arthritis and weight management to lowering blood pressure and boosting your immune system. Regular exercise strengthens both bone and muscle, and it eases stiffness. It also enhances your mood and increases your energy level. Talk to your doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute about what type of exercise is right for you and your back condition.
Lifestyle Changes for Preventing Back Pain
You can’t stop time, nor can you reverse the aging process. But you can take steps to ensure that you keep a healthy back through the years. And if you do suffer from some level of back pain or are recovering from a procedure, consider lifestyle changes to keep you healthy, such as:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying around extra weight can be very hard on your lower back. If you can get to within ten pounds of your ideal body weight, it makes a big difference.
- Stop smoking. Smoking is a habit that can lead to back pain because it damages blood vessels and reduces the amount of nutrient-filled blood that reaches your spinal discs. It also increases your risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Pay attention to your posture. Watch how you’re sitting, standing, walking and even sleeping. Hunching over a desk or slouching as you walk puts a lot of pressure on your spine.
- Protect your back while lifting. Rather than leaning forward to pick up heavy objects and straining your back, bend your knees and use the large muscles of your legs to protect your back while lifting.
- Wear supportive shoes. Supportive shoes reduce back strain. High heels and flats with no support throw off your posture and contribute to discomfort in the back.
Get Older without Pain
Your footwear doesn’t have to consist of “old lady shoes” or “old man shoes.” Most shoemakers today recognize the importance of support and offer a host of stylish options. And you don’t have to change everything at once; every little change helps.
Getting older doesn’t have to mean suffering with back pain. When you make preventing back pain a priority, you give yourself a good chance of remaining strong and healthy for many years to come!