Back pain is the leading cause of disability in the United Kingdom, affecting almost 1 in 10 people. Suffering from back pain can be debilitating and have a significant impact on your work and social life. But did you know that making some simple lifestyle changes can reduce the amount of back pain you experience?
A recent study from researchers in Sweden found that people who lived a healthy lifestyle were much less likely to develop chronic back problems. This article will explain why healthy living can have a positive effect on your back.
What is a healthy lifestyle?
A healthy lifestyle is living in a way that maximises your health, energy levels and physical capacity. The five main components of healthy living include:
- Eating a nutritious diet Enjoying a healthy and balanced diet ensures that your body has the energy and nutrients it requires to remain healthy.
- Exercising regularly Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week (half that if exercising at a high intensity). You should also perform some strength training for all major muscle groups each week. This ensures that your muscles, ligaments, bones, and cardiovascular system remain healthy.
- Managing your weight A healthy lifestyle includes staying at a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Managing your stress levels Being stressed can have a dramatic impact on your body, increasing your blood sugar levels, causing anxiety, and slowing your metabolism. Finding ways to manage stress is an important part of enjoying a healthy lifestyle.
- Getting enough sleep The body uses sleep to heal the body, regulate hormones, remove toxins, and much more. Sleep is an important part of remaining healthy and happy.
How will living a healthy lifestyle help your back?
Not only will living a healthy lifestyle give you more energy, improve the quality of your life, and help you live longer – it also can help you avoid back pain. Here is how:
Better core strength to support your back
Exercising regularly will ensure that the muscles in the abdomen and lower back are well-developed. Keeping these muscles strong will help to take some strain off your spine and provide it with support. You will be less likely to injure or strain your back and there will be less pressure on it each day.
Being active and physically fit will also help you improve your posture. It will become easier to keep your spine straight when sitting, walking and running, which helps you avoid back pain.
Less weight means a healthier back
The United Kingdom is still going through an obesity epidemic with over 62% of adults being overweight or obese. Unfortunately, carrying all of this extra weight can contribute to back pain and change the alignment of your spine. Living a healthy lifestyle helps you avoid obesity and remain in a weight range that is appropriate for your age, gender, and height.
Spending less time sitting down
Sitting down for long periods is one of the major risk factors for back pain and lumbar disorders. Essentially, the more time you spend sitting down, the more likely it is that you will have back pain. Living a healthy lifestyle helps because it is a more active lifestyle. You will spend less time sitting down in front of the computer or television, and more time moving about.
Your spine will have the nutrients it needs
The human spine requires many nutrients to grow new tissue and repair itself including vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Iron, and protein. Eating a healthy and nutritious diet ensures that your spine has all these important nutrients.
Less risk of degenerative spinal injuries
A healthy lifestyle is one that avoids cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption. This can help you avoid certain illnesses and injuries. For example, researchers have discovered that smoking can increase the risk of degenerative disc disease and lower back pain. Other research has shown that people who drink excessively are more likely to injure their back.
More likely to get professional help
Having a healthy lifestyle makes a person more health conscious and more likely to see a medical professional if something is wrong. This means you won't hesitate to see a chiropractor or general practitioner if your back hurts – which helps you identify and treat a spinal injury or other back problem before it becomes worse.