Got Your Back

About 80% of Americans suffer from a hostile spine at some point in their lives — from muscle spasms, pinched nerves, and aching kinks to chronic, debilitating disk degeneration. What’s more, your posterior side is a pain in the butt… literally. While other body parts isolate their symptoms to the origin of injury, your back often shares its misery with your neck, hips, buttocks, and legs.

Check out these nonpharmaceutical methods for backing up your back.

Be gentle: Swimming, walking, and biking achieve cardiovascular benefits without overstraining your back. Pull up on your abs during physical activity to strengthen your core and reduce tension on your lower spine.

Be Goldilocks: Find a mattress that’s firm but somewhat forgiving. If it’s too hard, it can precipitate stiffness; too soft, it can overarch your spine. Accommodate your back’s and neck’s natural curvature with support: If you sleep on your side, put a towel under your waist, a pillow under your head, and one between your knees; if you prefer to be face up, place a pillow under your knees and one under your neck; avoid sleeping on your stomach if you can.

Be manipulated: Chiropractic adjustments can take pressure off inflamed disks, restore posture, mobility, and function, and ease neural and muscular tension. Get a referral from your primary physician, then set up an initial consult to learn the chiropractor’s health philosophy.

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