How can I prevent a herniated disc?

Prevention of a disc herniation may be a goal that a healthy lifestyle may influence. Proper ergonomics are also quite important in prevention and control of a disc herniation or back pain issue. You may want to consider the following tips

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight because excess weight puts pressure on the lower back.
  • Don't smoke or quit if you do. Smoking impairs blood flow which deprives spinal tissues or nutrition and oxygen.
  • Stay active. Consult with your doctor for the best ideas for you.
  • Warm up before physical activity be it gardening or exercising or walking. 
  • Avoid long periods of bed rest and inactivity.
  • Do not sit! Sitting increases the pressure up to 11 times higher than when you lie flat.
    • If you do have to sit, try to not sit longer than 15-30 minutes without getting up and stretching the spine and walking.
  • Consider your work. Be sure its demands do not stress your spine. Make sure the work area design is ergonomically appropriate to avoid irritation.
  • Exercise regularly to keep the muscles of your back, legs, and stomach strong. Try to balance aerobic, flexibility and strength exercises throughout the week. 
  • Focus on your posture. For example,
    • when walking, stand up straight with your shoulders back, abdomen in, and the small of your back flat.
    • when sitting, sit with your feet flat on the floor or elevated. 
  • Consider your mattress for sleeping. It doesn't have to be a certain firmness. It needs to be supportive.
    • Sleep on a firm enough mattress that minimizes any curve in your spine.
    • Sleep on your side or back, not your stomach.
  • Wear comfortable, supportive, low-heeled shoes.
  • Be careful when lifting.
    • Do not bend at the waist.
    • Bend your knees.
    • Keep your legs strong, and use them to support the load.
    • Always keep the weight being lifted close to you body, not lifting with the arms outstretched as this stresses the discs in the low back.
  • Consider supplementing your diet with cartilage, bone, and immunity building nutritional supplements.

Contact Spine & Sports Rehab Center to discuss your back condition and its pain prevention and control.

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