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Avoiding Backfire: Making good choices about spine health

Avoiding Backfire:

Making good choices about spine health

Child on Hip

Excerpt from A Back Story, a visual guide
Holding a child on your hip overloads your back. Instead, hold a child front and center, close to your chest, with both arms.

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Golf

Excerpt from A Back Story, a visual guide
Pivoting your spine too far when swinging can traumatize your discs.

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Shoes

Excerpt from A BACK STORY, a visual guide
Shoes with firm midsole and heel support provide the best foundation for spine health.

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Scroll to see the visual guide below.

Learn how a healthy routine can reduce your back problems

Back pain doesn’t just originate from a single incident of incorrectly lifting a heavy item or a few hours of slouching at your desk (though these behaviors do contribute to the problem). A number of factors can cause back problems, including:

  • Even the smallest tasks throughout the day, from doing household chores to talking on the phone.
  • A poor diet, improper exercise techniques and other negative health habits.

In our new visual guide, "A Back Story," you’ll spend a day with Jack and Barbara—a couple with similar routines performed extremely differently.

The guide is not intended to offer a comprehensive solution for all types of back problems. If you experience chronic back pain or other serious issues, please consult a doctor for specific diagnosis and treatment.

Page1

Sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent alleviates pressure on spinal discs. Avoid lying on your stomach, as this position disrupts your spine's natural alignment.

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Page2

When helping someone out of bed, keep your feet spaced apart, bend your knees and hips and keep your spine straight instead of bending over. As you’re lifting, stay close to the person you’re supporting to avoid twisting your spine.

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Page3

High heels disrupt the S-shape curve of your spine, adding stress to your vertebrae. Wear shoes that provide arch support, shock absorption and stability.

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Page4

Don’t slouch or extend your reach when cooking and washing dishes. Instead, bend your knees slightly while standing straight and elevate a foot to reduce back strain. If you must bend down at the waist, lift one leg back to counterbalance the reaching forward motion.

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Page5

Messenger bags are great for carrying your things; they should have a wide strap that’s long enough to fit across your body and evenly distribute the bag’s weight. Backpacks also work well; wear them high and close to your body.

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Page7

Caffeine compromises good hydration, and maintaining an adequate water level in your body is critical to your overall health, including your spine. Try to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.

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Page8

A strong core minimizes the risk of back pain and injury; however, lifting too much weight or using improper lifting techniques increases your chance of back injury.

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Page9

Anxiety and stress lead to muscle tension, which triggers or worsens back pain. Small stretches every hour can loosen muscles and help you maintain a healthy spine.

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Page10

Pivoting your spine too far when swinging a golf club can traumatize your discs. Staying physically fit can also help you avoid injury during leisure activities.

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Page11

When talking on the phone, hold the phone with your hand, switching sides and body position occasionally throughout the call.

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Page12

Holding a child on your hip overloads your back. Instead, hold a child front and center, close to your chest, with both arms.

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Page13

Holding a child on your hip overloads your back with unbalanced stress. Instead, hold a child front and center, close to your chest, with both arms.

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Page14

Text while holding your phone at eye-level, aligning your neck with the rest of your spine. Tilting your head forward just one inch doubles the amount of pressure on your spine.

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Page15

Smoking is related to the early onset of degenerative disc diseases, as it reduces blood flow to spinal discs. Smokers are also at a higher risk of back and neck arthritis.

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Page16

Losing as little as 1.5 hours of sleep can lead to a significant loss in awareness, increasing your chances of injury and making for a stressed day and strained body.

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Page17

Getting less than 6 to 8 hours of sleep can increase appetite and lead to weight gain, which is hard on the spine. Losing as little as 1.5 hours of sleep each night can lead to a *32% loss in daytime awareness, putting you at greater risk for injury. Sleep deprivation often enhances stress, exacerbates existing back pain and reduces overall quality of life.

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