The mattress industry cares deeply about its customers’ spine support. It’s essential for memory foam and innerspring brands to be able to offer excellent lumbar support, as well as pressure point relief for side sleepers. Without these comfort guarantees, the return rates on mattresses would be untenable. But a mattress cannot do everything to ensure a healthy spine! Let’s look at what constitutes a healthy spine, and what you can do to keep it that way.
Back pain is widespread in North America
Experts estimate that four-fifths of Americans will experience a back problem at some time in their lives. In fact, back pain is a leading cause of absenteeism in the workplace, and a major gripe for individuals at home and in bed. It’s shocking how many people walk around with inflamed back, mild arthritis, and osteoporosis without doing anything about it.
Back pain is felt by people of all ages, even youths. But, generally, back pain sufferers often begin to experience the condition acutely in their 30s and 40s. Often, these are the decades when adults start to put on a little extra weight. And also when the body is old enough to start developing arthritis. Likewise, people in their 30s and 40s may have already spent two decades in the workplace–perhaps with poor posture at a desk; or hauling tools around job sites. Furthermore, by early middle-age, people may have been in a car accident or endured a sports injury. Perhaps they’ve been smoking for a long time and have developed a chest cough that is hard on the back. And, of course, for women pregnancy can play havoc with the female spine, causing problems years after birth.
Preventing back pain is a smart choice
So, if you are experiencing back pain, you are not alone. As a mattress intelligence website, we believe that choosing the right mattress for your body is essential to spinal health. Nevertheless, there is so much more that you can do. For example, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, while staying physically active, are among the best contributors to a healthy spine.
The other side of this coin means that you should avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest. A healthy spine is an active spine that is neither over-exerted nor neglected. If you are prone to lazing on the couch or lying in bed watching TV, you may be hurting your spine – even if you offset this with plenty of exercise.
A desk job can be hard on the spine
And for folks who work desk jobs, or individuals who spend a lot of time hunched over a laptop at home, the advice to maintain good posture will sound familiar. In fact, anyone who sits for extended periods of time will likely know about the neck and shoulder pain that can quickly develop if the back is not held in a healthy position.
A healthy sitting position will see sitting with your back straight and your shoulders back. Furthermore, your bum will touch the back of your chair. The proper curvature of your spine should be evidenced while you occupy a seat. Healthy sitting isn’t about doing something extraordinary with your back – in fact, it’s all about making your back do what’s normal.
Likewise, office workers may want to consult with their employers to ensure their workstations are ergonomically optimized. People who work from home may want to ask their chiropractors for advice on how to maintain an ergonomically-optimized workstation in the home.
Safe workouts at the gym are ideal for spine health
Working your back out at the gym is great for overall spine health. Developing the muscles around the spine improves overall spine health. Additionally, increased back strength will reduce the impact of mild arthritis or other ailments that may cause you discomfort in your back. But be careful! It is essential that you do not overdo it when it comes to back exercises. The back is one of the easiest body parts to injure in the gym, even when doing simple yoga or stretches. Consult a physiotherapist or trainer to find out what is healthy for your spine.
The small things make a big difference
There are plenty of little touches that will increase your spine health too. For example, you can increase the calcium and vitamin D in your diet to their optimal levels. They’ll help you develop robust and healthy bones. And lift boxes, furniture, and heavy equipment sensibly. Absent-mindedness causes so many back problems that having a mindset of caring about your spine may be your greatest asset.
Maybe a new mattress will help
Finally, consider changing mattresses if your back pain persists. It’s not surprising that the surface where we spend a third of our lives can affect our spines. Often, a firmer mattress, especially for back sleepers, is a real blessing for folks who suffer from back pain.