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How to Maintain a Healthy Back

by John Johnson

*Stand up straight! This means that your head and neck are not in front of your body. It means your shoulders are as lined up as possible with your head, neck and chest not collapsing down and forward.

*Focus on keeping your chest lifted and shoulders back and down. A dropped chest puts unnecessary pressure and weight-bearing down into the lower back.

*Focus on breathing fully with your diaphragm and lungs. This will help to keep your upper body light and prevent the pressure from dropping down and succumbing to gravity causing lower back problems.

*Use balls to support your lower or middle back when sitting for hours in front of a computer.

*Do not stand with all your weight into one hip/the same hip habitually.  Standing with all your weight into one side compresses that hip and puts pressure into the lower back.

*Stand with your feet hips width apart with the feet parallel. This will equalize the weight bearing into both hips and take pressure out of the lower back.

*When walking use all the parts of your feet so you transfer weight easily up the joints of the ankles, knees and hips into the spine. 

*Stand with your weight into your heels and just in front of the heels. This helps to take pressure off the lower back and spine and helps you to stand up straighter.

*If you do one sided sports or other activities, remember to do the same movements on the other side afterwards to create balance.

*Sit back when working at the computer. When you catch yourself with your head and chest moving forward, pull yourself back to lining your entire spine straight up. Bring the computer to you not the other way around.

*Do not carry heavy bags only on one side! Keep transferring the bag to each side to avoid straining one side of the back. Whenever possible avoid lifting or carrying heavy things.

*Before getting out of bed in the morning stretch each side of your body from your toes to your fingers. Breathe fully through each side as you are stretching.

*In Bed, bend your knees up into your chest and breathe into your lower back for 5-10 full breaths. This helps to stretch the lumbar spine.

*When standing up from a seated position, pull your abdominal muscles in towards your spine which helps protect the lower back.

*When you are standing talking to someone check in with your breathing and abdomen. Practice inhaling and lengthening your abdominal muscles upward with each breath. During the exhalation keep the length you gained from doing the inhalation and do not contract your abdominal muscles in with force. A strong contraction on the exhalation begins to tighten and shorten the space between the ribs and the pelvis. Over time this compresses the lumbar vertebrae.

*Work to create long toned abdominal muscles to keep your body from contracting forward. Forget about the tightening and contracting of the abdomen as in the long run being too tight and strong creates compression and pain.

*Avoid high impact and extreme sports and other physical activities. If you love these things then do minimum 25% of your workout time to counter-act any of the potential negative side-effects.

*Be smart! Anything you choose to do with your body, make a list of the potential negative side effects and choose things to do to counter these. This can make a huge difference in how you age. Start this when you are young so you don’t wind up with joint replacements as you age. When you are young you never think about the consequences of your actions. get smart and start now!

John Johnson
John Johnson


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