Back pain is a problem for people across the world, regardless of their gender, age, or career. For some people, back issues can be hereditary, but for others, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle can significantly increase the chances of avoiding back issues and spinal conditions.
Even if a person has already been diagnosed with a spinal condition, making the right changes to their lifestyle can have huge benefits and help to reduce the pain and symptoms.
In this article, we will discuss the best ways to live healthier to minimize symptoms and avoid the daunting prospect of spondylolisthesis or spinal stenosis treatment surgery.
What Can Cause Back Pain?
Below is a comprehensive list of the common causes of back pain.
- Spondylolisthesis, spondylitis, or spondylosis
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Fractures and impact injuries
- Muscle and ligament strains
- Bad posture
- Being overweight and having a poor diet
- Excess drinking
How Lifestyle Choices Impact Back Pain
Leading an unhealthy lifestyle of eating fatty, processed foods, not exercising regularly, smoking, drinking alcohol, and maintaining poor posture will increase the chances of developing back issues.
This can result in a long-term condition, causing persistent pain that will require medical treatment and possibly even surgery.
In this section, we will outline 7 elements of a person’s lifestyle that require attention if they are to maintain a healthy spine and avoid back trouble.
Exercise is vital to maintaining overall health and well-being, including keeping your spine healthy. Taking part in regular physical activities and exercise helps to strengthen muscles in the back which in turn, support the spine and its individual components.
To ensure you are getting enough exercise, it is recommended to devise a weekly routine that includes a range of different exercises to provide a full body workout. This can include regular walks, jogs, or runs, going swimming, cycling, yoga, pilates, and weights, for example.
However, it is essential that you learn to understand your body and try not to overdo things, especially when it comes to exercises such as weightlifting. Training too much without proper rest, or attempting to lift weights that are too heavy can cause back injuries which can lead to spinal issues.
Maintaining a healthy weight and shedding any unwanted pounds is key to keeping your spine in good shape. By carrying extra weight, you are putting your spine under extra pressure and this can lead to deterioration of the vertebrae and fractures.
You should try to adopt a healthy diet that contains plenty of green vegetables, low-fat dairy products, fish, nuts, grains, seeds, and of course, lots of water throughout the day.
If you are experiencing back pain then you should try to avoid inflammatory foods such as red meat, food with high sugar content, processed food, and food with preservatives and additives.
Although this can fall under the category of diet, the importance of drinking plenty of water throughout the day cannot be stressed enough. Not just for all-round health, but also for spinal health specifically.
Being dehydrated can make the discs (soft tissue) that sit between the vertebrae lose moisture, causing them to lose their effectiveness in terms of acting as shock absorbers. This can cause vertebrae to rub together or move out of place.
Some people make sure they drink enough water by having their smartphone send notifications periodically throughout the day.
People who have a poor posture, whether that be sitting or standing are more likely to have back issues. Many people who have office jobs suffer from poor posture which can be avoided by using an ergonomic chair and other equipment.
If someone has to sit for long periods for their job then they should make sure to take regular breaks, stretch, and walk around.
Everyone should make sure they get a good night’s sleep as failing to do so can contribute to a range of health problems, both physical and mental. In terms of your spine, a lack of sleep can have an impact on how much hydration and nutrition can reach your discs and spinal cord.
Furthermore, a mattress that lacks enough support or is misshapen can cause your back additional stress, resulting in an injury.
Managing stress levels is crucial in maintaining a positive well-being and remaining healthy. If a person develops stress then they can cause muscles to tense, making existing pain worse. To reduce stress levels it is advised to get a good night’s rest, eat well, and consider activities such as meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga.
7. Other Bad Habits
Smoking and regularly drinking alcohol can lead to a wide range of health issues, including cancer. Another consequence of smoking is that it can lead to the discs in the back degenerating, meaning they can no longer protect the vertebrae adequately.
This can result in the vertebrae coming into contact with each other, causing them to wear down or fracture.
It is highly recommended to quit smoking and reduce your weekly alcohol intake to improve the health of your spine and overall body.
Remember, it is important to visit your doctor regularly so they can perform a checkup and spot any spinal conditions or other health problems early.
To protect your spine and reduce any symptoms of back pain, there are a number of lifestyle changes a person can make. These changes include a healthier diet, drinking lots of water, exercising, sleeping well, avoiding stress, quitting smoking, and maintaining a good posture.
These healthy lifestyle changes become even more of a consideration as a person grows older as vertebrae and the spinal discs can wear down over time. Following the above advice can help to keep all elements of your spine healthy to avoid any serious conditions.