Tuesday, October 14, 2014


You must have heard the phrase, “To be the backbone of something” which means the part of something that makes it strong or successful. Well, your back is not metaphorically, but literally your backbone and you need it to be in perfect shape if you want to lead a happier and healthier life. 

Millions of people all around the world experience back pain daily. Apart from living with the constant pain, this condition is enough to drastically affect your quality of life and can make even daily, simple and necessary tasks entirely impossible. Taking care of your neck, spine and back today is going to help you decrease your risks of acquiring back pain in the future.


Better Choices, Better Health Leads To Healthy Aging

How you age depends on the choices you make today. If you wake up every morning with the thought that your back hurts then you are not the only one who complains about that. On an average every one in five people in America reported of back pain at least once during the last month. (Shaw, 2014)

Growing old does not necessarily mean that your mental and physical abilities should diminish because there is a lot you can do to keep you mind sharp and your body healthy. Simple and minor changes in your lifestyle such as, sitting with the correct posture, lifting weights correctly, losing extra pounds and choosing a healthier lifestyle can ensure healthy aging. 

Following are some simple changes that you can adopt to walk on the healthier path to aging as well as reduce the risk of back pain.


The Correct Way of Lifting

Following are some factors that you should take care of while lifting heavy objects:      
  • You should use your legs muscles to lift heavy objects rather than your back muscles.
  • You should squat, lift and then stand up, rather than bending at your waist in order to lift.
  • Another risky maneuver is when you lift and twist at the same time. You should bend at your knees, lift the weight and then turn your whole body along with your feet rather than just twisting your back.


What NOT To Do While Exercising/ Stretching

Following are the key things that you should absolutely avoid while stretching/exercising:
  • Be patient when you stretch after a workout. Know the limits of your body and never force your body to go beyond them. Stretch your limits a little each day but don’t break them. Gradually you will see the results as your body eases towards flexibility.
  • Do not bounce while stretching. Use even, slow movements when you stretch. Bouncing can cause a lot of stress to your joints and muscles and will not even help you stretch any better.
  • Do not overextend your joints. This can cause injury to your joints and won’t help you in any way.
  • Lastly, do not do it if it hurts. If you exercise a sharp searing pain during stretching, stop! That is your body screaming that it is has had enough.


The Correct Sitting Position

All those who suffer from back pain are not the same. Some find relief from their pain while standing, and then there are some who feel better when they sit. (Kam, 2014)
If you are stuck in a job where you need to sit for long hours then you should try these tips:
  • Stretch and stand up frequently.
  • Make sure that you don’t slump while sitting.
  • Keep your work close to you so that you don’t have to lean in.
  • Position your desk slightly above your waist.Position your chain in a way that when your feet are flat on the floor, your knees should be as high as your hips. Sit on a chair that has a support for your lower back. In case it does not, keep a lumber cushion behind your lower back. 


Shed Extra Pounds

People who are obese suffer from back pain without even realizing that their weight is contributing to their back aches. While this relation has not been thoroughly studied, it is hard to say to what extent weight contributes to back ache. However, it is safe to say that people who are overweight have a high risk of experiencing back pain. This happens because having extra pounds around your waist strains your lower back by pulling the pelvis forward. According to AOA (American Obesity Association) obese women with a large waste size are particularly susceptible to this ailment.

Being overweight is just not good for your health in any way therefore, you really need to buckle up and make an effort to shed the extra pounds. Adopt healthy eating habits and a healthier lifestyle. Be more active and add physical activity in your lifestyle especially if you have a job that requires a lot of sitting. Minor changes in what you eat and how active you are can give you positive results in terms of weight loss. 

Types of Back Strengthening Exercises

Following are two exercises that will help you strengthen your back: (Teare, 2014)

Hip Bridge – lie flat on your back, hip-width apart with flat feet. Relax your arms and bend your knees. Lift your hips as you squeeze your buttocks, creating a straight posture from your shoulder to your knees. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then slowly lower your body. Do this up to 10 to 12 times. 

Bird Dog – get on all fours. Knees apart and hip-width under the hips. Keep your shoulder-width apart and your hand flat. Pull your belly towards your spine and squeeze the abs. Make sure your spine is neutral and without rotating the hips or arching your back extend your left arm straight and your right leg back. Hold this position for two seconds and repeat this exercise 5 to 6 times for each side. 

For more information on Dr. Joseph Mills, visit: www.westhillspaincenter.com or call: 631-659-2980



Shaw, G. Managing Your Back Pain at Home. Retrieved from
Orenstein, B.W. 7 Tips For a Healthy Spine. Retrieved from
Michaels, J. The Dos and Don’ts of Stretching. Retrieved from
Teare, T. 4 Back-strengthening Exercises. Retrieved from
Frisco, D.J., MD. Weight Loss for Back Pain Relief. Retrieved from < http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/nutrition-diet-weight-loss/weight-loss-back-pain-relief>

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