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8 Lifestyle Changes That Help Prevent Lower Back Pain

by Katerina Weissova

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About 70% of us at some point in our lives experience lower back pain, and because of this, a great percentage of patients seek back pain relief. To most people, this is a recurring condition. 

Lower back pain is a symptom, and not necessarily a diagnosis as some people may think. It’s your body’s way of complaining that you should treat it better. Of course, people who practice yoga regularly are less at risk to suffer from back pain, but even a passionate yogi can face this uncomfortable condition during his or her life.

The good news is that the pain is something that can be healed by adopting some reliable and creative lifestyle changes. By adopting some personalized lifestyle changes you could be could be reducing the amount of discomfort and pain you experience daily.

Such changes could include sitting in a better position, sleeping right and doing things that make you feel relaxed. The specifics of each person’s back can vary, but these are our recommendations as the best lifestyle changes you could adopt for the sake of your spine. 

Lift Properly

lifting weight woman

If you want to pick a heavy object, all you need to do is to slowly bend at the knees and then gradually draw them close to you. Also, when you lift yourself back up, make sure you don’t twist your body, just un-bend the knees. You don’t have to do the left in a way that could be stressful to you.

 If you are doing a job that requires carrying or lifting heavy objects, make sure you wear a brace always before doing the task. Don’t lift heavy objects with your bare hands; if you do, it will put a heavy strain on your back.

If you smoke, quit

cigarettes in an ashtray

Do everything humanly possible to quit smoking. Smoking affects every part of your life. If you smoke, then you are liable to decrease your lifespan and quality of life considerably.

Smokers experience heavy spinal injuries. That is why people with spinal injury are medically encouraged to stay away from smoking for several months so that their bones and tissues can heal properly. The easiest and fastest way to be a victim of lower back pain is to indulge in smoking traditional cigarettes.

Manage stress better

woman feeling stressed in front of laptop

Stress can have adverse effects on your immune system and muscles, and this can give rise to stiffness and cramping. When you include stress relief activities in your daily routine, they will boost your health and prevent you from experiencing lower back pain almost immediately. Such activities could be anything that promotes relaxation, like breathing, meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, stretching and, of course, light yoga exercises.

Studies have proven beyond reasonable doubt that these techniques can regularly provide lower back pain relief and reduce fatigue to the barest minimum. Stress is not good for your health, it can enhance muscle tension.

Other great ways of relieving stress are by taking time to relax with friends and family and reducing over-scheduling your days or your daily workload. 

Lose weight if you need to

scale and measuring meter for losing weight

Maintaining a good weight is highly recommended for your overall health. Scientific evidence shows that obesity brings considerable risks to your health. It contributes tremendously to back pain, as well. The extra pounds can mount pressure on the discs and spinal muscles. If you are overweight, the best thing you should do is to follow the exercise and dietary plan recommended by your physician.

The best way to avoid back pain is by staying fit. Having extra pounds will cause unnecessary stress on your back and will likely result in back pain. To keep your back healthy, you should also strive to eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in processed foods.

When you sit, maintain good posture

good posture in two yoga girls outdoors

Maintaining good posture goes a long way to lower back pain relief. It is important that you engage in basic exercises like those taught in a yoga class for beginners. These will positively improve your posture.

Also, try to stretch often. Try as much as possible to evaluate your posture as often as possible, and sit up straight. If you can’t maintain good posture by sleeping right or by sitting right, then experiencing lower back pain will be inevitable.

Studies also recommend swimming, jogging, hiking, and walking as four scientifically proven exercises that can strengthen your muscles and improve your posture. Practicing any of them regularly could reduce the amount of stress on your back.  You can do them in the company of your friends, peers, workplace colleagues, and family members, to be more motivated to keep it up.

Poor posture has been described by experts as a major cause of back pain. When you are sitting either in the office or at home, make sure you get a seat that is specially designed to keep your back straight and your body relaxed. Your mood needs to be relaxed too when you are sitting. If you are stressed due to excessive workloads, remember to take 10-minute breaks every hour.

Get regular exercise to keep your back muscles fit and flexible

woman doing crunches in sports attire

Most back pain problems occur when people who aren’t in shape or who are overweight start engaging in hard work or heavy lifting and thereby putting untold stress on their back. Most people even do this unknowingly. Back pain will definitely occur if there is a degeneration of the spine due to a long time of not being physically active.

But through regular exercise, you can build up enough muscle strength in your back. This will give your spine the necessary support it needs to remain healthy, and will also make you mentally, psychologically, and socially alert. Therefore, try as much as possible to remain in shape, this will help you to avoid all kinds of back pain issues, not to mention the other host of benefits it will bring.

Back pain is a sickness that doesn’t heal fast; chronic back pain doesn’t even heal at all, but for a few hours at most after taking pain-relieving medications. Instead, it takes time to heal, and this is why prevention is better than treatment.

Don’t sit for long hours

man sitting on bar stool with back in an uncomfortable position

You are strongly advised never to sit for long hours without getting up to walk around, chat with work colleagues or move around your office or home. Also, do not sit for long hours without resting your feet on a low stool or on the floor: do whatever that is comfortable for you but make sure you vary positions and stretch regularly.

If you are driving for a long distance, you can avoid lower back pain by using a soft pillow or by rolling up a towel behind your back. These are some of the things most people ignore, but they can provide real relief if you remember to do them.

Sitting for a long period of time without doing any of these will surely give rise to lower back pain. This is why people are advised to stay away from prolonged sitting by medical experts. When you sit for a long period, you put untold pressure on your discs; stretching and walking remains the fastest and most effective ways of alleviating lower back pain.

It is important to note that sitting on itself is not a bad thing, but prolonged sitting without proper direction is. Sitting for a period of 7 to 10 hours in every 24 hours can give rise to several health issues such as back pain, slower metabolism, organ damage and so on. So, no matter how busy your workloads are, make out time to exercise or walk around and you won’t regret it, because the benefits go beyond avoiding back pain.

Here are effective ways you can beat lower back pain while you are sitting:

  • standing up periodically;
  • moving around your office or home;
  • engaging in exercises during a short break;
  • improving your posture by positioning your chair correctly and getting a back support;
  • stretching exercises;
  • getting a kneeling chair or yoga ball chair;
  • alternating using a regular desk and standing desk.

Stop sleeping on your stomach

woman sleeping on her stomach

If you really want to lower your back pain, then desist from sleeping on your stomach starting today. For a great percentage of people, sleeping on their back remains the most effective option for them, because it’s the only sleeping pose that helps relieve back pain.

During sleep, ensure you lay on your back. Also, try as much as possible to keep your spine neutral, and an extra pillow under your knees. For added support, you may consider placing a small rolled-up towel under the small of your back. Experts say that these options remain the best ways to deal with lower back pain.

Studies from multiple sources say that lower back pain is one of the major causes of disability in most people. Interestingly, back pain is not even caused by certain health conditions like arthritis or cancer; instead, it is caused by strain or stress from lifestyle habits, awkward sleeping positions, and bad posture.

If you are already suffering from lower back pain, then try the following sleeping positions and you will surely enjoy your sleep and feel better: sleep with a pillow between your knees- the beauty of using a soft pillow is that it will keep your spine, pelvis, and hips in proper alignment, sleep on your side, or in a fetal position.

Sleeping on your stomach is not an option. Alignment is key- no matter the position you choose, the most important part of the equation is keeping your spine in the right alignment. Try all you can to focus on aligning your hips, shoulders, and ears. If you also need further assistance on this, try to get answers from your doctor.

Good luck and remember that for any lifestyle change you attempt, persistence is key. 

Looking to change your posture and habits for the better so you can fight back pain effectively? A restorative yoga retreat may be the perfect place to start!

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