Preventing Low Back Injuries: Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Spine

The human spine is the support system for the whole body and it goes through a lot in a lifetime. Due to the body’s dependence on the spine, when back injuries occur, they can take a person out for days or weeks depending on the degree of the injury. To prevent low back injuries, some of the most common, read below for some tips for maintaining a healthy spine.  

Always Lift Things Correctly

One of the most common causes of lower back injury is lifting something heavy without the proper stance. This can happen at the gym, in your place of work, or even picking up one of your children. Unless you have worked a job where you have been trained to pick up heavy items correctly, you may not know how to do it to prevent injury. 

When picking something up that weighs more than thirty pounds, you should bend your knees and lift with your knees to balance the weight. If you just bend down with straight legs and try to pick up a heavy item, that puts a lot of strain on the muscles in your lower back. Back injuries from improper lifting include back muscle strain, ligament sprain, or even the herniation of one of the discs in your spinal column.  

Consult a Physical Therapist

If you are worried about the health of your spine and need advice about how to keep it strong, consult a medical professional. The specialists at Pursuit Physical Therapy work with sciatica patients and patients with other back problems to make sure that they are adjusted correctly and receive regular physical therapy appointments to prevent further lower back injuries. People who have pre-existing back problems are more likely to injure their lower back, so doing strengthening exercises is a great way to prevent injury. 

Physical therapists can walk you through different types of exercises you can do at home as well as book you in regularly for sessions in the office. If you feel the sense that you might have already hurt your back and you have symptoms like tingling in the lower back and upper thighs as well as stiffness and pain while sitting or walking, you should book in with a physical therapist as soon as possible so that the injury does not get worse. There you will work with board-certified physical therapists who can create a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle while helping you to feel better after each visit. 

Some treatments that physical therapists can offer are exercises designed to release nerve pressure, stretching to increase mobility in the lower back area, core strengthening exercises, and much more. Each case is different depending on whether you are trying to prevent another lower back injury or recovering from one. 

Do Not Sit For Long Periods

The plague of the modern world is the constant sitting that life requires. Many people work in offices where they have to sit at desks for at least eight hours per day and that can have a big impact on your lower back. Injuries do not just come from instant strain but can also occur as a long-term side effect of non-movement. When a person sits without moving for hours per day, their muscles will begin to atrophy if they are not doing any kind of exercise outside of working hours. This kind of behavior also severely affects posture if they are not using an ergonomic chair.

To prevent this habit, many people have purchased standing desks and even desks that can fit walking treadmills underneath them. This trend became really big during the global pandemic when everyone was stuck working at home. These inventions have helped everyday people to build their lower back strength, thus reducing the risk of lower back injuries. On the one hand, this is great, but it should also be noted that walking on a treadmill while also sending emails can cause fall risk, so walk at your own risk. 

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is the most obvious way to keep your body fit and at less risk of low back injuries. Exercises that help strengthen the lower back include glute bridges, planks, crunches, and bird-dog exercises. Each of these focuses on strengthening the muscles on and around the spinal column. Going on daily walks or runs is also good for keeping yourself healthy and strong. The main goal when preventing low back injuries is to know your body and know your limits and exercise can help with that.

Along the lines of knowing your body’s limits, it is very important that if you choose to go to the gym to get in workouts, you do not push yourself too hard. Sometimes people who think they are being healthy by lifting a lot of weight are actually one gym accident away from a lower back injury. When you lift weights for exercise, it is important to always be conscious of your back before anything else and before ever picking up any weights. 

Stretch Every Day

Regular stretching of the back, hips, and hamstrings is a great way to prevent low back injuries. There are many interconnected muscles in those areas that directly connect to the spinal cord, so the more flexible they are, the less likely you will be to injure your back. Stretching is also just good for your overall health and your long-term ability to move. If you stretch twice per day, once in the morning and once at night, you will feel more flexible all day and it can also help your posture. 

Stretching every day will not only prevent lower back injuries but will also help you stand up straight while walking even into old age. Having strong and flexible back muscles as you age will help prevent you from hurting your back later in life when it is a much harder injury to recover from.

Preventing lower back injuries requires a lot of awareness and a bit of exercise, but if you develop a good routine of strengthening and stretching your back muscles, you will be less likely to ever suffer from a lower back injury.