11 Steps Towards a Healthier Back

Most people experience some type of back pain at some point in their life. Here are some healthy habits to keep your spine in tip top condition.

1. Have a comfortable bed.

We spend a large portion of our time laying in bed. When we sleep our bodies rest and repair. A mattress that is either too soft or too hard can be problematic. Investing in a good quality mattress will pay off in the long run. Use a firm pillow that supports your head and neck, but doesn’t prop your head up at an angle. For additional support consider using a pillow under your knees, this will stop stress on your spine and allow your back to curve naturally. If you sleep on your side then put the pillow between your knees.

2. Sit with the correct posture.

When sitting at a desk your lower back should be supported, put a small cushion in the small of your back if needs be. Old fashioned desk chairs can be terrible for the back, your employer should ensure that you have a comfortable chair. Keep your knees at a 90 degree angle to the floor. Take short breaks from sitting every 30 minutes or so to stretch your legs.

3. Avoid cradling your phone in-between your cheek and shoulder.

Cranking your neck to one side while using the phone will cause stress on your spine. Support the phone with your hand and keep your neck straight. If you use the phone a lot throughout your working day, then ask your employer to provide a head set.

4. Lift properly.

When lifting something, use your knees not your back. If something feels very heavy, then ask someone to help you, do not attempt to lift it yourself.

5. Keep hydrated.

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help to keep your joints elasticated. If your joints become dehydrated, then the disks in your spine can shrink, making you more at risk to ruptures and bulges.

6. Stretch out.

Stretching stops tightened muscles from causing issues with your posture. Tight muscles can limit your range of mobility, causing additional muscles to become stiff. Stretching your back, legs and arms out first thing in the morning or after a long day at work will be very beneficial for your spinal health.

7. Wear comfy shoes.

Shoes should be comfortable and springy. Shoes that are worn out on one side can throw out your posture. Ladies should wear heels no higher than one inch for every day use. High heels cause your pelvis to tilt forwards, to compensate you then lean backwards and arch your back. This puts pressure on your lower back, hips and knees.

8. Increase your core strength.

Having weak abdominal and back muscles can cause severe back problems. To strengthen your core try swimming or Pilates. You could also try specific core strengthening exercises.

9. Keep your stress levels low.

Stress can be a contributor to back pain. Aim to keep your stress down. You could do this by exercising, meditating, keeping a journal, breathing techniques, yoga or getting regular massages.

10. Stop smoking.

It is thought that smoking reduces the blood supply to the discs in your spine, causing them to degenerate. This can create ruptures and bulges.

11. Pay attention to warning signs.

Don’t wait until your back pain becomes serious before you get it treated. If you are experiencing on-going or reoccurring pain, get it seen to by a physiotherapist as soon as possible.
For advice and treatment for back health please contact Sheffield Physiotherapy on 0114 268 6677 or email info@sheffieldphysiotherapy.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help. You can also book an appointment online.

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The Author

Lewis Payne

Lewis graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2013 with a First Class Honours in Physiotherapy, worked as Sheffield F.C.’s first team Physiotherapist, and now runs a leading-edge private clinic in Sheffield. With over ten years of experience, he specialises in manual therapy, advanced technological treatments, and exercise-based approaches, focusing on spinal and joint conditions, sports injuries, and specifically complex spinal issues like disc pathology and scoliosis. Lewis leads in IDD Therapy, performing over 6000 treatments, offers MRI referrals and reviews, and employs a holistic treatment philosophy viewing the body as a Tensegrity structure. He excels in postural analysis, soft tissue release techniques, and prescribes biomechanical corrective exercises to enhance natural movement.