Keeping active is one of the best things you can do for your back. This doesn’t mean rushing out and joining a gym or buying expensive equipment. The most important thing is that you avoid long periods of sitting or standing still.
Try to ensure you are moving around for at least ten minutes every hour. You could walk around while having a phone call at work, or instead of emailing someone in the same office, get up and go and speak to them.
Another idea is Pilates. It's especially beneficial if you suffer from back pain or stiffness as it helps to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
There isn’t a single superfood that will cure back pain or prevent it in the future, but ensuring that you have plenty of calcium in your diet will help to keep your bones strong – it’s not just kids and teens that need it! Also, vitamin C! It is a key nutrient - it helps with the formation of collagen and keeps bones and tissues strong.
And remember, eating a well balanced diet will help to maintain a healthy weight – being overweight is one of the key risk factors for back and joint pain.
It may sound strange, but do you look after your bed? If not, you can’t expect it to look after your back! Mattresses need replacing about every ten years - telltale signs that yours may be fit for the dump are: waking up with a sore back, or a sagging or lumpy mattress.
Everyone’s different and hard mattresses are not always the best for everyone – try a few different options and find what feels most comfortable for you.
Whether you work in a manual job or not, everyone has to lift something heavy from time to time. Remember the correct lifting technique – bend at the knees not at the back. If you have a baby or often carry a heavy back, be sure to switch sides regularly. Ideally carry your baby in a sling and invest in a rucksack for books and other heavy stuff.
Serious back pain can be crippling and can affect all aspects of your life – respect your back and it’ll take you far.
Written by Ruth Tongue