by Brent Hearn •
There’s no getting around it. There are a zillion ways to injure your back.
Are you an athlete? Plenty of ways to hurt your back. How about just moderately active? Everyday life affords you an abundance of opportunities to tweak the ol’ back. Fairly sedentary? If you don’t use it, you’ll…hurt it? (You get the idea.) The important thing is that no matter your age, lifestyle, or level of activity, it’s a good idea to take care of your back.
A few months ago, we posted an article called “Watch Your Back…At Work.” In our next installment in the series, we’re going to share a few ways you can take care of your back at home too.
Whether you’re bagging up items to donate, lugging potting soil, or bringing in groceries, the same lifting principles apply at home as at work:
- Lift with your legs, not your back!
Sick of hearing it? Too bad—we’ll probably keep saying it!
- Hold objects close to your body when lifting.
- Don’t twist while lifting.
- Get help with heavy objects.
Easy there, Hercules—be realistic about what you should be lifting without help! Otherwise, you might be paying for one moment of pride with weeks—or months—of recovery.
Working From Home
If your 9-to-5 involves working from home, whether full-time or only occasionally, many of the considerations from our previous article hold true. Use a good chair, place your monitor in a position that’s ergonomically sound, take breaks to walk around and adjust your posture, and be wary of (and modify when possible) any repetitive motions.
In short, be mindful of how you work. Ideally, you should have more control of your surroundings if you’re working from home, so take ownership of your back health!
Nobody wants to hear it—particularly right after Valentine’s Day and right before Fat Tuesday—but carrying excess weight can contribute to back pain. And that means making healthy decisions in the kitchen may pay dividends beyond any cosmetic considerations.
Short on willpower? Keep the offending snackage out of the fridge, out of the pantry, and out of the house. It’s a lot harder to make healthier decisions when treats are within grabbing distance.
Both weight and weight loss are subject to a variety of factors. If you’re concerned about your weight or not sure what your healthy weight range is, consult your physician.
You may have heard the news that sitting for too long can wreak havoc on your health. But if you’ve ever had to stand in a long line at the grocery store, airport security, or any of the numerous other places that call for a queue, you know that standing for an extended period of time is no picnic either.
Though you’re probably not having to stand in line too often while in your own home, you may still be standing still for long periods of time if you’re cooking. Or holding a ladder. Or being trapped in an awkward conversation while hosting a party. (Hey, you’re the one who made the guest list, pal.) Whatever the reason, here are a few tips to relieve the back pain that can come with standing for long periods:
- Move around.
Stop standing over the stove or chopping vegetables for long enough to walk around. One study found that a five-minute walk break every 30 minutes could help to alleviate back pain.
- Elevate one foot.
But be sure to periodically alternate which foot is elevated!
Try some standing stretches.
BackCare: BackCare’s 40 tips for a healthier back
Healthline: 10 Daily Habits to Stop Back Pain
Mayo Clinic: Back Pain at Work: Preventing Pain and Injury
Mayo Clinic: Back pain
The New York Times: Why Standing Often Feels Even Harder Than Running
WorkWhileWalking: Top 9 Desk Stretches to Do at Your Standing Desk or Treadmill Desk