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5 Steps To A Healthy Back...

Do these things daily and you'll create a solid foundation for a healthy back.

First off, let's define what a 'healthy back' is. A healthy back is not just the absence of pain, more importantly a healthy back is one that doesn't limit you from the activities you enjoy.

Pain obviously is the indicator that gets people to think about any body part.

When was the last time you thought about your elbow? If it hasn't hurt, you probably haven't thought about it for years. But, if you have Tennis Elbow and it hurts to squeeze or open a jar, you probably think about it a lot.

Same goes for the back and as the saying goes, 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'. Doing things daily to keep your back healthy is like brushing your teeth daily to keep your teeth healthy. Think of these 5 tips as your spinal tooth brush.

#1) WATER!!

What's the difference between a fresh steak and beef jerky? One is flexible and pliable and the other is stiff and rigid. The difference obviously is water. Staying hydrated helps keep all the tissues in the body mobile and flexible and the rest of this list is dependent on you staying hydrated.

#2) Posture

We were not designed to sit still for hours on end. Get up and move around. Don't be sedentary for more than 20 minutes at a time(unless you're sleeping of course). Even if you're sitting at a desk or chair with 'good posture', you're still sitting and there isn't a good way to sit for prolonged periods of time.

#3) Stretching

You gotta keep the moving parts moving. It's not overly complicated. If your hamstrings are always tight, start stretching your hamstrings every day. Everybody has their 'problem areas' that like to tighten up or get stiff. Pay attention to these problem areas and do something every day to address them. Even a few minutes a day will have a positive effect if done consistently over time.

#4) Exercise

I think people make exercise way more complicated than it needs to be. Find an activity or activities that you enjoy and do them 3-5 times a week. Walking is one of the most accessible and best exercises for your back and your overall health. Biking, running, lifting weights, yoga, kayaking, etc. As long as its active and somewhat strenuous, you will benefit from it. If its not something you enjoy you're much less likely to do it continuously and consistently. Consistency over time is the only way to make changes to the body whether good or bad.

#5) Fighting Inflammation

Inflammation has become sort of a buzzword over the last few years. The real culprit here is not inflammation in general but chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is basically when your body is mounting an inflammatory response unnecessarily. This can cause a myriad of health problems and lead to increased pain in the joints, muscles, and connective tissues. Basically avoiding/limiting high sugar, refined and processed foods is your best bet. Taking supplements like fish oil, Tumeric, CBD, etc. can help to decrease chronic inflammation as well.

There are a million other things that you could do that can positively affect the health of your back, but these five are a solid foundation to start with.

Dr. Hanson

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