Keeping your spine healthy is one of the best things you can do for your back and for your overall health. Try these tips to align your spine:
- When standing, keep your knees slightly bent and place one foot slightly in front of the other.
- Do no stand bent forward at the waist for long periods of time.
- If an object is too heavy or awkward, get help.
- Spread your feet apart to give you a wide base of support.
- Stand as close to the object you are lifting as possible.
- Bend at your knees, not at your waist.
- Tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the object or lower it down.
- Hold the object as close to your body as you can.
- Lift using your leg muscles.
- As you stand up with the object, DO NOT bend forward.
- DO NOT twist while you are bending for the object, lifting it up or carrying it.
- Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips – use good posture with your back straight.
- Avoid slouching your shoulders forward.
- Sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine; placing a pillow under your knees cuts the pressure approximately in half.
- Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may reduce pressure on your back.
- Do not sleep in a position that causes your spine to hurt.
- Your body will usually tell you what position works best for you and your spine.
Other measures to keep your spine healthy
- DO NOT wear high heels. Use cushioned soles when walking.
- Use a stool under your feet while sitting so that your knees are higher than your hips.
- If you drive long distance, stop and walk around every hour. Bring your seat as far forward as possible to avoid bending. Don't lift heavy objects just after a ride.
- Quit smoking.
- Lose weight.
- Do exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles on a regular basis. This will strengthen your core to decrease the risk of further injuries.