Health Hacks (Carlton Books, 2016) by Esme Floyd will help you to make small changes that reap really big health benefits. This book has direct remedies for health problems as well as preventative advice on topics ranging from nutrition and fitness to illnesses and stress, This section has tips on how to help prevent and relieve back pain.
Quick-Release Your Back
For a quick back stretch at your desk, place your feet flat on the ground and lean back on your chair so your back arches slightly. Drop your head backwards and then take a few deep breaths.
Destress To Help Your Back
Stress causes muscle tension that can lead to pain, especially in the lower back as the postural support muscles are overworked. Experts estimate that almost a fifth of all back pain is due to stress, so relaxation could be the most important prevention.
Don’t Be An Arch Villain
The spine begins to show signs of wear and tear as early as age 35, so from this age onwards it’s important to keep it flexible and strong. Lots of people forget that the back doesn’t only bend forward – it’s important to stretch it into an arched position as well. You can do this by simply leaning backwards to release muscles or try backwards bend yoga postures.
Bag A Healthy Back
Carrying your bag on the same shoulder all the time can lead to muscle imbalance and weakness, leading to pain. Resolve to swap shoulders every other day or use a backpack.
Bed Down In Comfort
Sleeping on your stomach can put the back and neck into various strained positions, causing stiffness and pain when you wake in the morning. To prevent problems developing, lie flat on your back with a pillow under your knees. Or sleep on your side with knees slightly bent and a pillow between your legs.
Lose Weight To Lessen Pain
Being overweight forces your body to carry more than its natural weight and, as most people walk at least a mile every day just in normal life, every pound counts. Slimming down could help most overweight people with back problems.
Sit Up With Sit-Ups
It is estimated that strengthening the abdominal muscles could prevent more than 75% of lower-back problems. Regular sit-ups and abdominal exercises can help, as can core strength training with Pilates and yoga classes.
Give Your Back Some Back-Up
Use a chair with a proper backrest to prevent pressure on the lower back, or slip a thin cushion or rolled-up jumper (sweater) behind your lower back for correct support.
Be A Screen Siren
Make sure your computer screen is at the right height for comfortable viewing – you shouldn’t need to lean towards or away from your screen, for example, and it should be level with your eyes. In addition, your arms should rest lightly on the desk’s surface as you use the keyboard.
Make Like A Cat To Stretch Your Back
To ease the strain and any discomfort in your back, get down on your hands and knees, hands palm down in line with shoulders, looking at the floor. Slowly push your back up into an upward curve, hold this for five seconds and then release. Repeat this ten times.
Tilt Your Pelvis To Treat Your Back
Try this pelvic exercise to ease any stress you might be feeling in the lower back region. Lie flat on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Press your lower back to the floor by tightening the abdominal muscles; hold for ten seconds and then release the position. Repeat five times, breathing normally throughout.
Swim Into Health
Swimming is an excellent exercise for healthy backs because it avoids the strain of impact sports and allows the body to realign itself while supported by the water.
Pack Some Heat To Dull Pain
To relieve chronic pain and stiffness in your back, try heated water therapies such as swimming pools, whirlpools, warm showers and steam rooms. Alternatively, apply warm compresses, hot towels or microwaveable heat packs to the area.
Top Up On Calcium
Calcium is essential for keeping the bones of the spine firm and flexible. There are plenty of sources besides milk, including yogurt, broccoli, kale, figs, almonds and calcium supplements.
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Excerpted from the book Health Hacks.Copyright ©2016 by Esme Floyd. Printed with permission from Carlton Books.