Back pain and joint pain: these issues affect thousands of Americans. Did you know that according to the American Chiropractic Association, one half of working Americans suffer from back pain every day? In fact, it is one of the leading factors for missed work in the United States. In addition, many of us live with joint aches and stiffness, which sometimes causes us to avoid activities we really enjoy.
With that in mind, it's very important that you take precautions to take care of your spine and joints. Orthopedic pain can lead to serious conditions, which may require surgery and prevent you from performing normal everyday functions. Follow these 10 easy tips to keep your back and joints in tip-top shape.
- Avoid lifting with your back. When addressing heavy objects, always bend your knees and lift with your legs, focusing your strength in your core muscles, not your back.
- Keep a healthy weight and diet habit. Being obese can cause a massive amount of strain on the back muscles and joints, leading to very serious problems down the road.
- Maintain a proper posture. Avoid slumping and slouching as this will weaken the back muscles. Avoid bending over to reach objects; instead bend your knees and use your leg muscles.
- Sleep on a firm mattress. Soft mattresses can increase spinal curvature over time.
- Stretch and exercise on a regular basis. Make sure you warm yourself up properly before performing any exercises or fitness routines. Walking and swimming are excellent ways to exercise the back muscles, and they are easy on the joints, too.
- Avoid/quit smoking. Smoking reduces necessary blood flow to the vertebrae and between discs. It can actually deteriorate discs over time and lead to serious back injuries.
- Never carry heavy loads in a sling. This practice puts unbalanced weight and pressure on your spine. Always evenly distribute weight when carrying loads.
- Wear comfortable shoes with low heels. This will help your posture and alignment as you walk throughout the day.
- Avoid prolonged bed rest. This can create a stiffness in back muscles and joints, which leads to tearing and pulling. Try to be as physically active as you can every day.
- Practice yoga. Yoga is one of the best exercises for back muscles, joints, and overall health. Just 20 minutes a day can stretch the muscles while also strengthening them, leaving you limber and feeling great.
If you want to learn more about keeping your back and joints healthy, St. Petersburg General Hospital has a top-notch Orthopedics department. Our team can assess your situation and help develop a treatment plan just for you.
In addition, we are offering two seminars next week that can help. Join us!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012: Management Options of Hip & Knee Osteoarthritis — Conservative vs Surgical
Hosted by Kurt Hirshorn, MD
YMCA Jim & Heather Gills
3200 1st Avenue South
St Petersburg, FL 33712
Wednesday, January 25, 2012: Have You Been Told You Need Surgery for Your Back or Neck Pain?You Should Have a Second Opinion!
Hosted by Howard Sharf, MD
Board Certified Orthopaedic/Spine Surgeon
St. Petersburg General Hospital
Auditoriums A & B
6500 38th Avenue North
Petersburg, FL 33710