According to the American Spinal Decompression Association, 80 percent of Americans are affected by spinal pain at some point in their lives. For those who participate in sports, as many as 20 percent of sports injuries occur in the neck or lower back. Therefore, it is vital that you take the necessary steps to keep your back and spine healthy. Here are five preventative tips to decrease your chances of a back injury and spinal pain:
1. Remain as Active as Possible.
Regular exercise can help you in a number of ways, including weight loss and lowered risk of heart disease. It can also help maintain a healthy spine. One reason for this is that you are losing excess weight. Additional weight on the body can cause the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your back to tense up and become damaged. To help strengthen your spine, make sure that when selecting an exercise regimen that you incorporate plenty of exercises that target your upper and lower back.
2. Make Sure to Stay Hydrated.
Between each of your spine's vertebral bodies is an inter-vertebral disc, which consists of primarily water. If you do not stay hydrated, those discs will shrink. As this shrinkage occurs, you will begin to experience pain. In addition, you will be much more prone to injury. Therefore, proper hydration helps to ensure those spinal discs stay healthy and nourished.
3. Avoid Lifting Objects Incorrectly.
When you are lifting heavy objects, you need to make sure that you are lifting them correctly. In other words, you should never use your back to lift. You need to use your legs. You should also avoid twisting and turning while lifting, as this could put too much stress on your spine and result in injury. When lifting, remember to bend your knees, keep your spine straight, and keep the object near your body.
4. Get Plenty of Rest Each Night.
Sleep is important to your overall health, and it is extremely helpful in maintaining a healthy spine. At night, while you are resting, your body is recovering from the day, which allows it to repair itself. To ensure your mattress wears evenly, you should rotate it every few months. In addition, you should avoid sleeping on your back since it puts 50 pounds of pressure directly on your spine.
5. Don't Ignore the Warning Signs.
Although it is common to have a little bit of pain in the back every once in a while, you should not be experiencing constant chronic pain. If you are worried about the pain you are feeling in your back, then you should schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist or sports medicine doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you can have the pain checked out, the sooner you can get back to your daily routines pain-free.
These five tips will help you maintain a healthy spine and prevent a number of back injuries during fitness classes, sports performances or just in day-to-day activity. Just remember that if any back issues or spinal pain persist, especially when you are exercising or playing sports, it is important to call your doctor immediately.