Back pain is often a result of the aging process for many people, but there are steps you can take to keep your back strong and healthy.
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“As you age, your back undergoes degenerative changes,” says Garett Helber, DO.
“Most people refer to these changes as arthritis, which include disk degeneration, spinal canal narrowing and enlargement of the joints of the spine. As a result, some people may experience pain, although there are many that do not,” he says.
If your mother reminded you to stand and sit up straight when you were a child, she was on to something. Poor posture can put additional stress on your spine.
“It can also contribute to issues with the muscles surrounding the spine, including the neck,” says Dr. Helber. “Good posture helps to minimize the stress on your spine and on the surrounding muscles, which helps to reduce pain in the long term.”
Parents often urge their children not to slouch, but that’s sometimes easier said than done. Dr. Helber recommends the chin tuck maneuver for maintaining good posture.
“You tuck your chin into your neck, which helps keep your head over the center of your body,” he says. “You should also make an effort to minimize slouching by not allowing your shoulders to fall forward or rotate inward.”
Some additional posture tips:
“Using a core stability ball instead of a chair while sitting at your desk will activate and strengthen back muscles while working,” Dr. Helber says.
Outside of work, Dr. Helber recommends these exercises:
Discontinue any exercise that produces or increases pain in the leg or back
There are three main things you can do to strengthen your back and decrease pain, says Dr. Helber:
When it comes to keeping your back strong, good habits will serve you well, especially proper posture and exercise.