Unless it’s giving us pain, we tend to ignore our back and shoulders. But when the pain hits, suddenly, this often-forgotten part of our bodies consumes all our attention. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 50 percent of Americans have back pains each year.

Causes range from sprained ligaments, ruptured disks, strained muscles, and irritated joints. To even more frightening cases, such as the Zimmer shoulder recall, where the FDA issued a Class I Recall for a defective shoulder implant.

As with so many other aspects of life, prevention is the best kind of cure for backpain. Here are some tips on how to keep your back and shoulders healthy and pain-free.

Work out your core

Strong core muscles contribute to good spine, back, and shoulder health. Strengthening your core will result in a back that is stronger and able to handle the grind of daily life. The core consists of your upper and lower abs, your back muscles, obliques, and lower lats.

To work on strengthening this area, try a Pilates fitness routines, a Yoga workout, or various plank exercises. If you have access to a fitness trainer, they can help provide you with a tailored plan to get your core in tip-top shape.

Get a massage

The back does its fair share of work daily. And keeping it in peak condition does not only mean workouts. Back massages can help you relieve neck and shoulder tension and can help you unwind after a long day. Massage can not only target and relieve painful trigger point areas. But it also aids in reducing inflammation, a factor in some types of backaches.

Additionally, back massage benefits go beyond back health. Massage has been proven to help individuals fall asleep. Boost one’s immune system by improving the production of white blood cells. And let’s not forget how relaxed and stress-free one feels after getting a massage.

Eat foods that fight inflammation

Remember how we said that inflammation is one of the causes of back pain? Did you know you can eat foods that will fight inflammation in your body? One study showed that eating 2 grams of raw ginger after a workout helped participants experience less pain than the control group did.

Ginger, along with other foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties, also helps relieve pain. Other inflammation-fighting foods include tomatoes, olive oil, and green leafy veg. Strawberries, almonds and walnuts, blueberries, and cherries are considered anti-inflammatory, too!

Drink enough water

Amid with the multitude of reasons we should be drinking water, one is not so well-known. Would it surprise you to find that the discs in your spine are made up of 80 percent water when you are first born? This high water content decreases with the years. But still, you need to be well hydrated for the discs in your back to do the job of cushioning the vertebrae that it they are meant to perform.

Drinking water is a step you can take for better spine health. Making drinking water a habit can be difficult to institute. Hydration does not need to be limited to water alone. Juices, decaffeinated teas, soups, and foods with high water content can make staying hydrated a little easier.

Visit your chiropractor

Chiropractors use massage and spinal manipulation to align one’s musculoskeletal structure. Getting regular adjustments from your chiropractor can provide pain relief. As well as prevent pain complications from arising. They can also tell you if a minor pain might be worth looking into further.

Knowing what actions you can take to ensure better back and shoulder health will help you move from pain management to being proactive. Adding some simple but back-healthy habits to your life can mean the difference between a pain-free workday or one shrouded in pain. You deserve good back health. Do something about it today.