1. Look after your spine, even when you are sleeping
The average person sleeps for 26 years of their life. Now, that is a long time for your body to be lying on a 23-year-old mattress that your parents gave you. Gross.
After a long day, all of the structures in your spine deserve to unwind on a comfortable and supportive mattress. Investing your time and hard earned cash on the perfect mattress for your body is crucial for keeping your back in a good condition. If only we paid more attention to our mattress than our cars - I’m sure we would have less back pain.
Your pillow is equally important, ensuring your neck isn’t too high or too low is essential. A memory foam pillow, which fits the curve of your neck like a glove, is what you should be looking for.
2. Wear the right shoes
Good shoes not only provide protection for your feet but also provide a supportive base that aids the spine and body to remain in alignment. Could you imagine building the statue of liberty on a bowl of jelly?
- The heelcounter (area of the shoe that holds the back of the heel) should be snug, but not too tight.
- A supportive heelcounter will prevent your ankles and feet from rolling in and rolling out.
- The insole (bottom of the shoe) should contour your foot perfectly and should feel very supportive. This is the ‘shock absorbing’ part of the shoe.
- Additionally, half to one full thumb width between the end of the longest toe to the end of the toe box is perfect, your toes should be able to wriggle freely!
Relaxing both your mind and body helps to decrease stress. Too much cortisol (stress hormone) plays havoc on your emotions, hormones, blood sugar and your spine. Take the time to respect your body with a long warm bath, glass of wine, yoga or meditation. A good massage not only improves flexibility and decreases tension, it also improves blood flow and increases the level of endorphins in your bloodstream, our ‘feel good’ chemicals.
4. Sit with support
Did you know that the discs in your low back will encounter 3x more load whilst sitting as compared to standing? No wonder long periods of sitting will create or aggravate low back pain. I can sense you straightening up already. What’s worse is that not only are we sitting too much, we are also slouching forward. This poor posture can put strain on your muscles and can often cause problems such as sciatica. Aim to get up and walk around every 20-30 minutes.
5. See a Chiropractor
Having your spine properly checked and in correct alignment should be a priority if you want to get back (pun intended) to being happy and healthy. Rebalancing your joints and muscles will give you the perfect foundation for your body to thrive.
Regular abdominal and back strengthening exercises will help to support your entire spine and minimise your chances of injury. Add them to your exercise routine under the supervision of a health professional, and bobs your uncle!