7 Everyday Habits with Lasting Effects on Your Spine
What are some common everyday habits that affect the spine?
- Sitting for too long
- Bad posture
- Not enough exercise or movement
- Lifting heavy things incorrectly
- Wearing certain kinds of shoes
- Sleeping in certain positions or on a sagging mattress
Sitting for too longSpending too much time at a desk, often crouched by a laptop or mobile device, is one of the worst things you can do for your spine. The posture you adopt while sitting can put pressure on the lower part of your spine. That’s why it’s important to always sit up straight, and avoid sitting for too long as much as possible. Take quick walking or stretching breaks the next time while at your desk for long periods. You can also set a timer next to remind yourself to stand in between periods of sitting down for too long.
Bad postureSitting isn’t the only time your posture affects your spine. Even when standing, your posture can still be slouched, affecting your shoulders and upper back as well. Unfortunately, this is quite common today since many spend their time looking down at screens with bent necks and rounded shoulders. The key to having a better posture is to be aware when you’re losing it. Remind yourself regularly to keep your back straight, square your shoulders, and loosen the tension in your neck.
Not enough exercise or movementYour muscles, ligaments, and tendons all need movement to function. Without regular movement and exercise, your body may become stiff. This can be temporary, but if it continues, it can get much worse and affect your spine permanently. Your weight can also contribute back pain. Excessive weight gain with no exercise puts too much pressure on the bones, making overweight people suffer more spinal injuries over time.
Lifting heavy things incorrectlyYour spine can also be affected when you lift heavy things incorrectly. Doctors and chiropractors provide their patients with the correct ways of lifting to avoid this from happening. Next time you lift something heavy off the ground, try doing it this way:
- Get close to the object—don’t just lean toward it as this will strain your upper back and shoulders.
- Bend your knees (not your back!) and get a firm grip on the object.
- Lift the object straight upwards (no twisting!) in one fluid motion.
- Hold it close to your body as you move—again, don’t lean toward the object.
- Bend your knees when you put it down.