Spine problems are common these days, especially while working from home. Here are some tips to help you prevent this from happening.
Maintain a healthy posture when sitting, standing, and sleeping to avoid spinal problems
Spinal problems are among the most stressful health problems in the world. As you get older and into a sedentary lifestyle, the number of people with spinal problems is likely to increase in the years to come. The motto “prevention is better than cure” also applies to spinal problems. Here are some tips to help prevent your spine problems.
Tips to prevent spinal problems
Physical exercise is the cornerstone of the spinal health prevention program. Strong and healthy paraspinal and core muscles are essential to support your spine. Exercises to be included in the exercise regimen should include low impact cardiovascular and isometric neck strengthening / back stretch / core strengthening exercises. Stretching the hamstrings, thoracolumbar fascia, glutes, and neck muscles should also be included in the training plan. A trained physical therapist may be required for guidance.
Low-impact cardiovascular exercises include – walking / fast-paced walking, elliptical, stair stepping, stationary cycling, and swimming. Physical exercises keep the spine functional and flexible and limit the flare-up of pain. During exercise, endorphins (a type of local brain hormone) are released that lift mood, relieve depression, and act as natural pain relievers.
2. Maintain proper posture
Proper posture when sitting, standing or walking is a must. When standing, always try to distribute your weight evenly across your feet and your head should always be in line with your pelvis and metatarsus.
Do not sit limp while sitting and your head should be balanced and in line with your pelvis. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. To avoid extra pressure on your buttocks and lower back, avoid keeping your wallet in your back pocket. Adjust the height of your table so that the line of sight is straight without having to bend your neck forward.
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3. Sleep in a correct position
Sleeping on your back is the best position as your entire spine can rest comfortably. You can roll up a small towel and place it at neck level for support. A small pillow can be comfortable for people with neck stenosis. If you sleep on your side, the pillow height should be right so your neck is straight. A medium-firm mattress is usually recommended.
4. Set a reminder for the spine
Try to change your repetitive tasks. Set a reminder on your watch every 50 minutes to remind yourself to check your posture, walk for a few minutes, and stretch your neck, lower back, and leg muscles. Try to alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones.
5. Limit the activities that require you to carry heavy weights
Prevent back injuries when lifting weights. Lifting weights during daily activities like loading or unloading your car, carrying your child, or shopping can damage your spine. Lifting with your back bent forward or lifting while rotating can cause sudden lower spine injury. Try bending your knees instead of your back while reaching for objects from the floor. Pivot your feet and hips instead of twisting your lower back. Try to hold objects closer to your body while keeping your spine straight.
Also Read: Three Simple But Effective Stretching Exercises That Can Help You Relieve Upper Back and Neck Pain
6. Build healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle
Achieve and maintain body weight within a normal range. Additional weight with a protruding stomach shifts the center of gravity forward and thus puts additional strain on the lower spine.
Quit smoking as smoking is known to increase disc degeneration, a leading cause of spinal problems. Smoking restricts blood flow to the intervertebral discs, which leads to early degeneration.
Avoid high heels as they shift the center of gravity and put stress on the spine. And finally, you stay hydrated to nourish and hydrate the intervertebral discs.
(Dr. Ashish Dagar is an orthopedic spine surgeon at CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram)
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