Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Nobody wants to get to the point where they need a surgical procedure to correct a spinal issue, but in order to avoid surgery, you have to start making some positive lifestyle changes before your spinal discomfort reaches the point where these simple changes are no longer effective. By making just a few small tweaks to your daily life, you can greatly improve the health of your spine. In today’s blog, we look at six simple lifestyle changes you can make to significantly improve your spine health.
Lifestyle Changes For Back Pain Improvement
If you’re dealing with back discomfort, work on improving one or two of these areas and see how your back responds. All of them should prove helpful, but if you try to make many drastic changes all at once, they may never become habits. Really work to create long-term lifestyle improvements through some of these changes.
- More Exercise – Exercise will strengthen your spine and the muscles that support it, and it will help your heart pump healthy blood to the structures that need it most. You don’t need to join a gym or lift weights for hours a day in order to achieve these benefits either. Simply try to walk, run, swim or bicycle for an extra 30 minutes a day, and you’ll be on your way to building a stronger spine.
- Healthier Eating – A healthy diet can also help your spine by ensuring it has the right vitamins and nutrients it needs to thrive while also preventing weight gain that could put it under more stress. Again, you don’t need to completely overhaul your diet or jump into a fad diet to notice the benefits of healthy eating. Start by swapping out your afternoon snack for a healthier option like vegetables, and make some other minor substitutes to create an overall healthier diet.
- Reduce Smoking/Alcohol Consumption – Tobacco and alcohol use can damage blood vessels that bring healthy blood to your spinal discs. If they can’t get the nutrients they need, they can become thin and brittle or shift out of place. Ideally you’d give up smoking and excess alcohol consumption completely, but again, we’re looking for sustainable long-term improvements. Work to gradually decrease your consumption, and your spine will be better off because of it.
- Improved Seated Posture – Another really simple thing you can do to improve your spine health that oftentimes gets overlooked is to ensure you have good posture when you’re seated. If your spine is out of alignment when you’re sitting down, your lumbar or cervical spine will have to bear a large amount of stress, and over time that can lead to disc degeneration and other problems. Conduct regular posture checks to make sure that your head is positioned properly over your shoulders, and adjust your posture if you notice you’re shifting out of a healthy alignment.
- Healthier Sleep – Sleep is supposed to be a restorative time for our body where waste products can be flushed from our bloodstream and muscles can get a break from the rigors of the day, but if you’re not getting prolonged sleep, these systems may be out of whack and contributing to back pain. Make your sleep environment an ideal place for sleeping (dark, no electronic distractions, go to bed around the same time each night), and make sure that your mattress and pillows are helping to support your spine and keep it comfortable while you sleep.
- Destress – Finally, mental stress can actually manifest into physical pain, so you may notice an improvement in your physical health if you work to reduce the stress in your life. Oftentimes reducing stress is easier said than done, but if you can’t easily reduce stress, work to find better ways to manage and control it. Exercise, breathing techniques, yoga, meditation or Pilates are all helpful ways to manage mental and emotional stress, so find an outlet that works for you.
If you need help with any of these lifestyle changes, or you want someone to take a closer look at your spine, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at the Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.