Blog - 10 Top Tips to Keep Your Back Healthy

By Jacqueline Lawes: 31 Oct 2013

  1. Drink plenty of water.
    Warm water with a touch of lemon is warming and cleansing and great in the cold weather. Drink your cold water at room temperature (chilled water is not so good as the body has to use energy to warm it back up to body temp.). Herb teas are fine and bring fluid to the system but they don’t replace plain water. Our bodies are made up of around 70 % water and as we use it for processing, we need to replace it.  
  2. Walk.
    This is the safest form of exercise if you have back problems and will loosen and strengthen your spine. Wear walking boots for undulating terrain or trainers for town walking. If your back aches when you get back, do the following exercise:
  3. Do this simple exercise to loosen the back.
    Lie on the floor on your back, with your feet on the floor, knees up. Feet are hip width apart, knees balanced above the feet. Arms about 30 degrees from the body. Palms facing the ceiling.   Stage 1. Gently tilt your pelvis by rolling your lower back into the floor. Now tilt in the opposite direction lifting your lumbar from the floor and pushing down towards the tailbone and buttocks. Take deep breaths as you do this. Make your rolling slow and easy (no push). Let your breath fuel the action.   Stage 2. Relax the back completely and gently roll your head from side to side. Just as far as it easily goes. Again let deep breaths fuel the action.
  4. Detoxify.
    Help your body to detoxify by eating lots of alkalising foods. These foods help your body to detox and let go. This is also essential if you wish to lose weight. Load up on vegetables, especially greens, low sugar fruits such as lemons, limes. grapefruit, avocados and berries. Choose organic where possible - it has around 25% more nutrients than non-organic food.  
  5. Reduce Stress.
    This is the biggest cause of back problems. Stress upsets the hormonal balance of the body creating an acidic environment which in turn can create disease. Find what works for you. Enjoy a relaxing massage or go for a swim, walk by the sea or lie in a hot bath with yummy oils. Join an exercise class or a yoga class. Sit quietly for 5 mins to begin each day or on returning home from work to release the working mind and move into family time.
  6. Bad backs at work.
    Get up from your sitting position every hour and walk around the room. (This can be very good for the mind also.)   Quick exercises to loosen the back whilst working at a desk (breathe deeply throughout): Rotate the shoulders a few times Stretch your arms up to the ceiling Stand up, soften the knees (feet under hips) and rotate your hips in circles (both directions)
  7. Yoga
    Yoga is one of the finest systems to keep mind and body relaxed and toned. It will strengthen your back and relax your mind. In a general class, let your yoga teacher know about your back and listen to your own body relaxing when you need to.
  8. Tai- Chi
    Chi Kung and Chinese Yoga All of these systems will strengthen and open your spine. Again talk with your teacher about what’s happening with your back.
  9. Therapeutic Support
    If you are already in pain, you will benefit from enlisting help. There are many good therapists who are experienced at working with back problems. Choose a therapy and a therapist that suits you and then have a course of treatment. Your therapist will advise you on your initial program. Shiatsu Massage, Tuina Massage, Holistic Massage, Cranio-Sacral therapy and Acupuncture are all stress busters and back balancers.
  10. Sleep.
    Your bed. We heal and repair in our sleep. The little discs between each vertebrae swell up when we take the weight off the spine. This is essential for the health of your back. Make sure your mattress is supporting your back. Do you feel supported and better for going to bed? Check that your pillows support your neck. If you’re uncertain, talk with your therapist or an ergonomic back specialist.   Sleeping Position. It’s advisable to sleep in the recovery position. This is on your right side with your top leg forwards (prop with a pillow under your knee if this is more comfortable). Your pillow should support your neck to be in line with the rest of your spine. Your head needs to be able to rest easily in this position. This position also calms the heart and aids sleep