The Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care Provide Tips for Preventing Back Injuries
Your spine is an important and complex series of small bones, or vertebrae, separated by cushioning discs. In addition to providing support and structure to your entire body, these vertebral bones serve as a critical shield for your spinal cord, which forms the pathway for messages between your brain and the rest of your body that control all major bodily functions. One such function is muscle movement. Indeed, if you’ve ever suffered from back pain, you surely can appreciate the vital role of your spine based on the agony you likely experienced with every single move.
Because the effects of back pain are so far-reaching, it’s wise to take whatever steps you can to prevent it. Toward that end, the doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care recommend the following simple, but effective, ways to protect your spine and avoid potential discomfort:
- Exercise – The benefits of a regular fitness program cannot be overstated. Among them is a healthy spine. As you become more fit, the strength and flexibility of the muscles surrounding your spine will increase, making them less susceptible to injury and better able to support the weight of your body (which you can manage through exercise – just one more reason to work out). Aerobic activity will also facilitate a steady blood flow to your intervertebral discs to ensure they receive the nutrients they need to remain healthy and flexible. And, even if you’re already plagued with back pain, exercise can help relieve your discomfort and keep the problem from worsening. Just remember: Before beginning any exercise program, you should always consult with a physician.
- Stand up straight – The maintenance of good form while standing can help preserve the natural curvature of your spine. Poor posture has the opposite effect. When you slouch, your muscles have to work extra hard to keep your body balanced, and this type of stress can lead to back pain. Concentrate on keeping your shoulders back and relaxed, pulling in your abdomen, and balancing your weight equally on both feet. As a bonus, good posture will also enhance your appearance.
- Protect your back while sitting – If you are required to remain seated for extended periods of time at work or in other situations, be sure to adequately support your lower back. Choose a chair that is ergonomically designed, or, if that is not possible, place pillow or rolled towel behind the small of your back. When performing sedentary activities, try to take a break from sitting every hour – even for a little as ten minutes – to briefly stretch and walk. Take advantage of every chance you have to move about, and your spine will thank you.
- Wear proper shoes – Appropriate footwear is essential to protect your back while working, exercising, and engaging in any other type of activity. Your feet must sustain a significant amount of weight, and if your shoes fit poorly or provide inadequate support, the brunt of the load when taking a step will be transferred to your back. Comfortable, low-heeled shoes are always a wise choice. You might try adding cushioned insoles, which can be very effective at absorbing some of this shock. Avoid high heels, which make you walk on the balls of your feet and force your spine into an unnatural position.
By observing some basic preventive guidelines like these, you can help ensure a lifetime that is free of back pain. For additional family health tips, take a look at our online series of health articles. If you have questions, please feel free to contact or visit a Tampa doctor at the South Tampa Immediate Care walk-in clinic.