Sperling Medical Group

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6 Tips for the Healthiest Back You Can Have

“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone?” – Joni Mitchell

Do you have family heirlooms or works of art that you treasure? If so, you probably take special care to protect and preserve them for the future. They make us aware that we are custodians of something precious that we want to keep in great shape for the future. And, if by some chance a special treasure goes missing, we experience pain and become preoccupied with the loss.

This is just as true of our bodies. In a sense, they are “heirlooms” handed down to us genetically from previous family generations. Yet we often take them for granted. For example, when was the last time you thought about your spine? In all likelihood, you’ve been taking your back for granted–unless you’ve had bad back pain. When back pain and immobility strikes, it’s hard to focus on anything else. You don’t realize how much back comfort you’ve been enjoying until you don’t have it anymore.

According to Wikipedia, “The intricate anatomy of the back provides support for the head and trunk of the body, strength in the trunk of the body, as well as a great deal of flexibility and movement.”i Thus, it’s important to protect and preserve the “family heirloom” of a healthy back in working condition.

5 tips to optimize back health

Here are 5 simple ways to maximize and maintain a healthy back:

1. Stretch your back and your body for a minute or two several times a day. Flexibility helps protect from injury to the muscles, other soft tissues, and joints. It keeps and even helps extend your range of motion. Besides stretches done standing or lying down, there are even stretches you can do at your desk or workstation. Do a web search for “deskercise” for some ideas.

2. Proper weight to avoid the burdens that excess weight places on the spine.

3.Lift carefully. Never bend to lift a heavy object. The Mayo Clinic has a brief slide show demonstrating how to avoid straining your back.

4.Activity keeps your back and your whole body in tiptop shape. Any exercise that mobilizes the whole body is good for the back: sports, swimming, hiking, workouts at gym, etc. are all good.

5.Sleep is important, too. Your back needs down time. A good night’s sleep restores the body as well as the brain. Experts recommend sleeping on your side, to avoid pressure on your spine from sleeping on your back. Make sure your pillow supports your head in proper alignment with your spine.

6.Hydration helps the spine’s infrastructure. The spinal disks that provide shock absorption between each vertebra (backbone) need hydration. In fact, without it, they can shrink, causing loss of height and the risk pain if they slip out of place.

To remember these 6 tips, their initials spell the reminder word SPLASH: Stretch, Proper weight, Lift carefully, Activity, Sleep, Hydration. Your back is a precious treasure handed down through genetic generations – take good care of it!


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