Habits for a healthy back

Primacare Physical Therapy tips on a Healthy Back

If you find yourself dealing with back problems on a regular basis, it’s worth making sure that your everyday habits are “back-friendly.”

When done without proper form, routine activities — vacuuming the house, working at your desk, driving, gardening, or even sleeping — can take a toll on your back. Be kind to your back by following these tips:

Choose good seating. Your office chair should provide good back support — ideally, with an adjustable backrest, lumbar support, armrests, and wheels). Arrange your workspace so you don’t have to do a lot of twisting to reach for frequently used items.

Travel light. Don’t overload briefcases, purses, or backpacks.

Drive with your back in mind. Sit back in your seat and, if necessary, use a rolled blanket or towels behind your lower back for lumbar support. Shift your weight occasionally. If you have cruise control, use it when you can. Also consider using a foam seat cushion to absorb some of the vibration. When driving long distances, take frequent breaks to stretch.

Sleep in alignment. If you can, sleep on your side with your knees bent and pulled slightly toward your chest. Your pillow should keep your head level with your spine — you don’t want your head propped up too high. Choose a mattress that’s firm enough to support your spine.

Courtesy Harvard Medical School Publication