Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, but for some, the pain is chronic and difficult to manage. Taking steps to maintain a healthy spine can help you avoid pain or alleviate the discomfort you’re already experiencing.

Whether you’re recovering from a spinal injury or taking steps to prevent future back pain, these four tips can help you maintain a healthy spine.

1. Maintain a Strong Core

A strong core will support your spine and keep pressure off your lower back. If you spend most of your day sitting or lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll have a difficult time keeping your abdominal and back muscles strong and healthy.

Make it a point to include core exercises in your workout routine. Some killer core exercises include:

  • Bicycle kicks
  • Reverse plank with alternating leg lifts
  • Marching bridge
  • Superman plank
  • Side plank with leg lifts

Maintaining a healthy weight and staying active in general is important. Being overweight or obese will put excess pressure on the spine and the lower back.

2. Give Your Spine a Rest While You Sleep

The way you sleep and the mattress you sleep on will affect your spinal health and whether or not you wake up in pain.

The spine works hard all day to keep your back aligned. When it comes time to rest, you want all of those muscles and ligaments to relax and have the time to rejuvenate. The right pillow and mattress can help you get the restful night of sleep your back needs.

Choose a mattress that offers healthy support for the spine. You’ll need to consider your sleeping position when choosing a pillow.

  • Side sleepers: Very firm
  • Back sleepers: Firm
  • Stomach sleepers: Soft and thin

It’s worth the extra cost to invest in a good quality mattress that won’t leave you waking up with back pain in the morning.

3. Book a Massage

Scheduling regular massages can help not only alleviate stress, but also boost endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Treating yourself to a relaxing massage will also improve blood circulation, allowing more nutrients to reach the affected area and speed up healing.

If you want to take full advantage of the benefits of massage, consider investing in your own massage chair so that you can use it any time you wish.

4. Practice Good Posture and Limit Your Sitting Time

Humans were made to move – not sit all day. But unfortunately, most of us wind up sitting in a chair, at a desk or in a car for most of the day.

Sitting down puts three times more pressure on your spine than when standing. To make matters worse, we have a tendency to slouch or lean forward when we sit at a desk, which can aggravate the discs in the spine even more.

If you have to sit during the day, whether for work or for some other reason, make it a point to sit properly. Practicing good posture while you sit can help alleviate some of the pressure on the spine.

Invest in an ergonomic desk chair, and make it a point to get up at least once an hour to walk around and stretch your legs.