John D. Spears, D.O.

When spine surgery is an option,
The Missouri Spine Institute is the best option you have.

Protect Your Spine in Six Easy Steps

1. Hit the Gym

We all know that regular exercise is important to keep a healthy body weight, reduce stress, and improve our moods. But did you know it also prevents back pain? As you build a regimen of strength, stretching and cardio exercises, your muscles will work better to support your spine. The less strain on your back, the less pain you will experience!

2. Kick the Habit

Of smoking, that is. Studies have shown that people who smoke experience more frequent back pain than non-smokers. When you smoke, blood flow to your spine is restricted. This can lead to more back pain, longer healing times after spine operations, and stunted bone growth. Talk with your doctor about a smoking cessation program that will work for you.

3. Achieve a Healthy Weight

Carrying around extra weight—especially around your middle—can put painful pressure on your lower back muscles. Conversely, being too thin causes lower bone mass and a risk of osteoporosis. It is ideal to stay within ten pounds of your healthy body weight to protect your back. Work with your doctor to identify a healthy weight for you.

4. Mind Your Posture

Hunching down to see your computer, smart phone, or tablet can wreak havoc on your spine health. If you work at a desk most of the day, focus on keeping your spine in a neutral position. When you use your smart phone or tablet, try holding the device at eye level to protect you neck. And make it a habit to stand up and stretch every thirty minutes.

5. Axe Your Stress

It’s important to take care of your body when you are experiencing stress. High levels of stress can cause back muscles to spasm, resulting in pain. You can reduce your stress and its harmful effects by adopting relaxation techniques, visiting a therapist, or taking an extended break from social media and smartphone usage.

6. Strike a Healthy Balance

As tempting as it may be to cram all of your chores and errands into your short weekend, doing so can put you at risk for back strain and injury. Try spreading out your to-dos throughout the week to achieve a more balanced life and a healthier back.