Regular low impact aerobic exercise is thought to:
- reduce inflammation
- strengthen your muscles
- provide healing by sending oxygen-rich blood to the painful area
Invest in the right pair of walking shoes. Ask your chiropractor about proper footwear and get your gate assessed today.
Build walking into your daily schedule. Walk to the train, go for a walk on your break, or take the family for a walk after dinner!
If walking is too jarring on your spine, consider walking on a treadmill, which has a more padded, forgiving surface and will be less jarring on your spine. If a treadmill is still too harsh, consider walking in a warm pool—the water will support most of your body weight and take pressure off your spine. Depending on your individual level of fitness, you may want to start out walking only a few minutes at a time, and gradually—over a period of several weeks and maybe even months—try to walk for at least 30 minutes at least 3 or 4 times each week.
2. Kick electronics out of the bedroom.
Studies have shown as many as 66 percent of individuals with chronic back pain are also living with sleep disorders. One bad habit that's contributing to poor sleep for many people is using electronics like a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or TV while in bed. It's all too easy to get distracted and stay up too late when you should be preparing to fall asleep.
This is part of observing good sleep hygiene—a routine or series of habits engaged in before bed each night. Other sleep hygiene habits may include regulating the time you go to bed and wake up, taking a hot bath before bed every night, blocking out noise with a fan or sound machine, or what the lighting and temperature are in your room each night.
- If you haven’t fallen asleep after 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something else. Waiting in bed to fall asleep may boost your stress levels, making achieving sleep even more difficult.
- Consider taking a natural, over-the-counter sleep aid, such as Thompson's Sleep Support. Ask your chiropractor about natural sleep aids today!
Sitting less is key to improving back health; one study found that just 66 fewer minutes sitting each day significantly reduces back and neck pain while also improving your mood. Having a lengthy commute and a desk job doesn’t have to mean sitting all day. Try the following:
- Use a laptop stand or standing desk at work as opposed to a traditional desk. The discs of your lower spine are compressed up to 3 times as much while sitting, so standing at work can relieve pressure on the spine.
- Get up every hour, even if just to get a drink of water. In addition to breaking up the day, this habit will keep blood flow to the muscles in your back more active.
- Give up your seat on the train to someone else. While standing on public transit may not be ideal, it can be good for your back after sitting for most of the day.
- Don't head straight to the couch or recliner when you get home. Take a short walk before you settle in for the evening, and get up frequently while you're watching TV.