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Posted on 01-02-2018

Another blog post from Ann Arbor chiropractor Mike Tannenbaum, D.C.

Back pain is a very common ailment: in just the last three months, at least 59 million Americans have been affected by it. Back pain costs people in the U.S approximately $90 billion a year in medical and non-medical related expenses.

Here are some simple things you can do to help reduce the chances of getting back pain:

1. Have regular chiropractic treatments. Chiropractic has been shown in study after study to be a highly effective (and cost-effective) way to reduce and prevent back pain. A major advantage of chiropractic treatments is that chiropractic doesn't use drugs or surgery.

2. Exercise and strengthen your core. Many people think of the core as your front and back abdominal area. I think of the core slightly differently – to me, the core consists of any muscles that are attached to your pelvis (which would include the abdominal area, but also the pelvic muscles and any a number of leg muscles).

3. Make sure you have good posture. Poor posture is a bit of a slippery slope, as it often leads to even worse posture, thus putting incorrect stress on your the back – potentially causing back pain and other back ailments. Good posture helps maintain the body structure, helping keep the back healthy and out of pain.

4. Maintain good flexibility. A flexible back will deal with the physical rigors of everyday life much better than an inflexible back. This will help prevent back pain. Regular stretching of the back can really go a long way in helping prevent back pain.

5. Make sure you use a mattress and pillow that don't cause you back pain. A firm, high-quality mattress is best for most people, but mattresses are also an individual preference. Be sure to thoroughly test out a mattress you are considering buying, to make sure it is right for you.

6. Reduce stress. You probably don't realize how much stress can affect the health of your back. Stress causes you to tense your muscles, and chronic muscle tension can cause back pain. Any activity that helps you reduce stress can help prevent back pain. Some activities shown to reduce stress are yoga, meditation, biofeedback, deep breathing, tai chi, and guided imagery.

7. Healthful diet. Certain foods (such as refined sugar, processed foods, and alcohol) cause inflammation, which can increase your chances of back pain. Also, consuming certain foods make it easier to gain weight. Extra weight stresses your back, too. Overall, one should consume more vegetables, fewer processed foods, and fewer carbohydrates than the average American does. Healthful proteins should also be part of a healthful diet. (This is a simplification of a healthful diet. There are many good, well-researched articles that can be found online which demonstrate a healthful, low-inflammatory diet.)

8. Quit smoking. Most people don't realize that smoking also can be a cause of persistent back pain and can make existing back pain worse. It's not entirely clear how smoking affects back health – possibly because smoking narrows blood vessels. Narrowed blood vessels result in less oxygen and fewer nutrients reaching the spine, making the spine more susceptible to injury.

So, if you want to minimize your chances of getting back pain, or reduce or remove back pain you already have, follow these suggestions I've given here. You will not only help yourself, but help keep down the economic cost of back pain in our nation.

If you would like to set up an appointment with our office or would like more information about this blog post, back pain, neck pain, or headaches please feel free to contact us at tchiropractic@hotmail.com.

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