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Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Back



Back Be Nimble Newsletter - January, 2003

There are a number of things you can do everyday to help keep your spine - the bones, discs, ligaments, muscles and other soft tissues - healthy and strong, while reducing the risk of injury. This newsletter discusses a few simple things you can utilize to help maintain the health of your back.

Use correct body mechanics: Using good body mechanics in your everyday motions and activities is critical to avoiding injury (or re-injury) to your spine. For example, for heavy loads remember that pushing is generally easier on your back than pulling, always pivot with your feet instead of twisting while lifting, and keep heavy loads close to your body when lifting. When standing for a prolonged period of time, place one foot on something slightly higher than the other or at least in front of the other to relieve spinal stress. Also, you should avoid locking the knees.

Support your spine while sitting: Sitting creates a lot of stress on your spine, but the right setup can help you stay comfortable - make sure your feet are on the floor, ideally with a 120 degree angle between your thighs and torso. Push your chair right up to the desk, support your arms with armrests, and make sure there is good support for the inward curve in your lumbar spine (lower back) either with a lumbar back support or ergonomically designed chair. If you sit for long periods of time, providing proper support for your spine can certainly help your back feel much better.

Fine-tune your exercises: While it may be uncomfortable to start an exercise program, it should not be too painful. If you feel a significant level of pain during or after exercising, there may be a few exercises in your routine that are aggravating your condition. Or perhaps you need to do some of the exercises with a different form or with better support. If your exercise is causing more pain than you think it should, be sure to discuss how to adjust your exercise routine with your doctor or therapist.

Use ice and/or heat for pain relief: Sometimes a few simple changes to your pain management routine can make a big difference. For example, ice application, heat and/or moist heat are easy to do and may provide substantial pain relief. This may be a good pain relief option during a bout of severe pain, following surgery, and following pain caused by certain activities. When unsure which to use, always try ice first. Then perhaps, alternate ice and heat always finishing with ice if the pain is acute or swelling is involved.

Stay active: Many people with back pain tend to try to protect their back from further injury by avoiding activity. While a short period of bed rest may initially help reduce pain, in general doctors advise against more than one or two days of bed rest. In fact, resting and general inactivity can cause more pain, as lack of activity leads to muscle de-conditioning and other harmful effects. For most conditions, physicians will recommend a long-term rehabilitation program of active physical therapy and exercise.

Drink water: Sufficient quantity (8-10 glasses) of purified or spring water is essential to the health of your spine. Did you know that your spinal discs are hydraulic and composed of 80% water? If you don't intake enough H20, your body will extract it from discs making them brittle and degenerative.

We hope that these suggestions for simple changes you can make to your routine will help you better manage your back health.

At Back Be Nimble, We bend over backwards to help your back be nimble again...

Best Wishes,

Dr. Brad Lustick
CEO and Ergonomic Supervisor


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PRODUCT INFORMATION DISCLAIMER: Backbenimble.com Back Store offers self-care products addressing ergonomics, postural support and back pain relief. Offerings should not be considered medical advice or substitutes for recommendations of an attending doctor. Backbenimble.com does not receive any funding from any manufacturer whose brand is mentioned or suggested and these are purely mentioned for the genuine interest of our visitors.

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