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Banish That Bad Back With Proper Pillow Placement And Seven More Creative Tricks

We all know what its like to wake up in the morning and realize that something went terribly wrong with your back in the night.

Its that sinking feeling when you emerge from comfy, cozy dreamland and realize that you can barely haul yourself out of bed. Sometimes, it loosens up as the day goes on, especially if you add a few of these easy, pain-relieving stretches.

However, as we get older, its pretty common to have a stiff back that persists for days on end.

Even worse, its pretty simple for a chronically tweaked spine in your twenties and thirties to turn into a painful bad back as you reach your middle years.

Its called degenerative disc disease, or DDD, and to some extent, its just a normal symptom of age. As WebMD puts it, DDD is not really a disease but a term used to describe the normal changes in your spinal discs as you age.

Still, there are a few easy measures that we can all take to protect our backs as much as possible from DDD and keep its effects minimal. Check out a few of our favorite tips below!

Thumbnail Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Back Protection Tip #1: Uncross Your Legs

Back

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When you’re sitting at your desk or in a meeting, do you usually find that you’re crossing your leg at the knee?

This is a common behavior that women in particular adopt almost without realizing it, but it’s not the greatest for your back.

Instead of curving and misaligning the spine, try to keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and your feet flat on the floor in front of you when seated.

Back Protection Tip #2: Flip Over At Night

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Changing the way you sleep at night is no easy task, especially if you’re a light sleeper.

Unfortunately, if you sleep on your stomach, it might be time to start breaking the habit, according to BetterSleep.

Sleeping on your stomach causes back trouble because it forces the curve of your spine unnaturally flat. If you can train yourself to sleep flat on your back, you spine will thank you.

Back Protection Tip #3: Grab A Pillow

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A lot of people find sleeping on a perfectly flat back to be uncomfortable, or have trouble with their breathing in this position.

If that sounds like you, consider compromising by sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees.

According to the University of Utah, “a firm pillow between your knees will prevent your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment and reduce stress on your hips and lower back.”

Back Protection Tip #4: Work Your Core

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One of the best ways to protect your back also has an added bonus: it might just leave you with six-pack abs!

There’s no need to become a frequent flyer at the gym, but working your core by doing 15minutes ofwalking, gentle yoga, or low-impact pilates daily can work wonders for your back.

That’s because, as SpineUniverse tells us, having strong abdominals is one of the best ways to provide your spine with plenty of support and take some of the pressure off.

Back Protection Tip #5: Seriously, Lift With Your Legs

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You know how people have been telling you your whole life to “lift with your legs?” Well, now’s the time to take that advice to heart sometimes, literally!

If you need to move something heavy a short distance, it’s not a bad idea to try sitting down and pushing it with your feet, if possible.

For anything that has to go farther, take advice from FamilyDoctor.organd protect your back by bending your knees (not your spine) to pick the objectup, and then straightening through the legs to bear the weight.

Back Protection Tip #6: Sleep In A Scarf

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This one might sound a little bizarre to you, but if you’re having spinal pain, especially in your neck, you should consider wrapping a scarf around your neck at night.

Muscles tend to get stiff and pull the spine out of alignment when they’re cold, which often happens when our body temperatures drop as we sleep.

Keep your muscles “warmed up” with a scarf, turtleneck, or gator to prevent that chilly stiffness from setting in, says Shape.com.

Back Protection Tip #7: Dont Stay Seated

 back protection tip #7: dont stay seated

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These days, when lots of us work in an office or are otherwise sedentary for most of the day, there are more and more studies stacking up about why sitting so much is dangerous.

Sitting too much causes a wide range of problems, from a higher risk of blood clots to a greater danger of obesity, and the spine and back are not exceptions.

Sitting all day compresses the spine and presses your discs, so try to alleviate the pressure by getting up and moving around for 10minutes every hour.

Back Protection Tip #8: Breathe Deeply

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Take a deep breath, or block out five minutes to meditate. Listen to some great music or pet your dog. Whatever helps you relax, make sure you make time for it.

Relaxing, in the physical, muscular sense, is key to good spinal health.

Tensing your muscles out of stress or anxiety does nothing but lock them into place and tug on your ligaments and bones. Consciously relax from head to toe to help relieve the pressure.

Which of the spinal health tips were familiar to you? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget toSHARE these tips with friends and family!

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