Imagine being forced to carry around a weight in front of you all day and night. You can probably see how that would not be good for your back.
The weight would tug on your back and shoulders. It might cause you to pitch forward a bit. That is not good posture and could cause your back muscles to compensate. Over time, your spine would slip out of alignment, straining the muscles around it.
Suppose I told you those muscles and other structures were not being nourished the way they should. The vessels through which the blood moves are clogged up. The blood designed to carry nutrients to the cells is clogged with molecules that don’t nurture growth.
You can probably see how that would not be good for any part of your body, including your back. If you went to your primary doctor complaining of back pain and discomfort, you probably couldn’t pinpoint the source.
Meet that “get healthy” resolution
Following the start of the new year, suppose you reverse that process. You eat nutritious food and began exercising. Your blood pressure drops, your arteries clear up, your muscles strengthen and you begin losing weight.
In a relatively short time, your body becomes trimmer, no longer pulling you forward and creating stress on your back and shoulder muscles. Your cells are properly nourished by a clean and balanced diet.
The pain dissipates.
I asked you to imagine this, but it is the lifestyle of millions of Americans who eat the fast food meals full of processed foods and refined sugars advertised on television. They live sedentary lives in which their thumbs – whether on phones or video games – are the most active part of their bodies.
Then they complain of back pain. The truth is, much of back pain is preventable.
So let’s look at some of the things you can do to avoid back pain in your life.
- Lose weight – eating right and exercising are critical to losing weight and maintaining overall good health, and that is no less true for your back. More vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats; and less prepared foods, snacks and alcohol. Run, walk, swim, bike, do yoga, take karate – whatever gets you off the couch and elevates your heart rate is good for you, your back included.
- Stop sitting – sitting for long periods of time is extremely harmful to your back. Sitting at a computer is bad for your shoulders and neck too. If you must sit, take numerous breaks to stand and walk around. Make sure you have good back support in your chair. Set up your work station so you’re sitting straight up with your hands close to you, and at elbow height, with your head in the neutral position.
- Get a good night’s sleep – sleep is critical to a healthy body, mind and psyche. It re-energizes our bodies for the next day, consolidates our memories from the day before and processes our emotions. Aim for eight hours every night and sleep on your back or your side, never your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach places abnormal stress on your spine.
- Quit smoking – Smoking doesn’t directly affect the back, but its negative impact is still considerable. Smoking causes plaque to build up in the arteries, slowing blood flow to the bones and discs of the spine, decreasing its ability to heal itself.
Follow these lifestyle hints and significantly reduce the odds that you will suffer back pain.