©Medical News Today
We spend most of our time hunched over computers, slouching on chairs, and sleeping in positions that are rather…creative! Although we know that we should always sit up and stand up straight with our shoulders back to maintain a good posture, there is more to having a good posture than all that.
Many of your poor habits can lead to spine problems including obesity, lack of exercise, bad sleeping position, and a poor quality mattress that may lead to muscle strain, neck and back pain, spine misalignment or deformity.
What you have to do is to replace poor habits with better ones to keep your spine straight and save yourself the pain of some serious spine conditions and disorders.
This list will show you a number of good habits and exercises that will help you maintain your spine’s flexibility and keep your spine healthy.
#1 – Sit up straight
Before anything else, always pay attention to your sitting position.
Many of us spend all day tied to a desk at work and later complain about back and neck pain. Do we actually pay attention to their posture during the never-ending hectic days at work? Do we ever get up from our chairs or take a walk during breaks? Probably not.
Here is what you should do: Sit up with a straight back and keep your shoulders relaxed not hunched or shrugged.
When it’s time to take a break from work, do not eat in front of the computer and get back to work as soon as you finish. Have your lunch, move around, and stretch your back, neck, shoulders, and arms. This will prevent spine stiffness and back pain.
Otherwise, your bad posture and habits will cause you vertical subluxation which causes your spine to become misaligned and gives you severe pain.
#2 – Sleep on a well-balanced mattress
You likely sleep 6 or 8 at night and spend around 1/3 sleeping in your lifetime, which means that if you were to have spine problems they would probably happen due to bad sleeping positions and the low quality of your mattress.
Make sure that your mattress is firm but not too firm or it will push on your pressure points and cause you discomfort. A mattress that is too firm supports your shoulders and hip but not your spine which is left out of alignment, especially if you usually sleep on your sides.
Meanwhile, if you sleep on a mattress that is too soft, your body will sink into it and your spine will follow the curve of the mattress which leads to pain and spinal misalignment in the long term.
Look for a mattress that can help keep your spine stay in a neutral position when you’re sleeping and avoid sleeping in the fetal position where your spine is bent forward and your chest is pressed against your legs.
Instead, sleep on your side and support your waist and upper leg with pillows to keep your spine stress-free.
#3 – Exercise
All types of exercise can help keep your spine healthy and reduce the risk of many spinal disorders. To improve your spine flexibility and protect it from misalignment before it’s too late, try the following yoga exercises:
● Bridge exercise
This yoga exercise stretches the tendons and muscles of your lower back and hips.
Do the bridge exercise by lying on your back and slowly raising your hips while keeping your shoulders pressed against the floor.
Stay in this position for five seconds, rest for a bit, then repeat three times.
● Hip crossover stretch
The hip crossover stretch helps release tightness from your muscles and relieves you from back pain. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent shoulder-width apart, cross your left ankle over your right knee, gently pull your left knee towards your right shoulder with both hands, and hold the position for no more than 30 seconds, rest, and then repeat.
● Child’s pose
This pose allows your spine to stretch and lengthen, and releases the tension and fatigue from your body. To do the child’s pose, sit on your knees, spread them apart, and bow forward on your thighs. Keep your arms stretched forward and your head down.
Physical inactivity is the enemy of your spine, muscles, and your overall health. Although back pain may not allow you to do these exercises, you can still start with a gentle warm-up. It will work wonders!
#4 – Swim
Doctors recommend swimming for patients who have spine problems. Swimming gives a big range of motion, reduces stress on your spine and joints, and supports your weight thanks to the buoyancy of water.
After regular water exercise, your back pain will be a thing of the past. However, if you already have a spine disorder or went through spine surgery, it is necessary to consult your doctor who may specify the exact movements you should or shouldn’t try.
#5 – Lose weight if you’re overweight
Not only does obesity put you at the risk of diseases like diabetes, kidney failure, and heart disease, but it is also one of the main causes of spine problems. Excess fat strains your back, and excess belly fat, in particular, pulls your body forward and increases the risk of spine injury and degenerative disc disease (DDD).
The degenerative disc disease that causes the spinal column to degenerate or break down may affect you even if you are overweight by 10 pounds only.
If you’re overweight, this is one more reason for you to exercise and lose weight.
Having a good posture is not just about how your body looks, it’s necessary for your health and well-being. Never forget to exercise, lose weight, and sleep in a healthy position on a mattress that is not too firm yet not too soft for the sake of your spine!