Our Best Tip for Keeping Your Back Healthy
No matter what your age, doing this one simple thing can help keep your back pain-free for a lifetime.
If you’re among the millions of Americans who struggle with back pain, you have likely tried many different ways to get relief. From tried-and-true conservative measures like rest, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, and physical therapy to newer remedies like gels, supplements, and guided meditation, many people will try almost anything to experience freedom from back pain. What can you do to keep your back healthy?
Of course, there are a wide variety of surgical and nonsurgical options, depending on the source of the pain. Some people find that injections work well to control pain, and in some cases, surgery can address the compressed nerves, degenerated discs, or other painful spinal problems.
There are many options, and you should consult with your doctor to find the right treatment for you. But if there is one single recommendation that Summit Orthopedics spine specialist Erik Ekstrom, M.D., makes more than any other, it’s three simple words: just be active.
“The best advice I have for my patients, no matter whether they are young or old, is to be active. People who are inactive tend to have more back pain issues. I promote that advice to all of my patients.”
A healthy back for younger adults
In your 20s and 30s, it’s important to establish good, active habits. Many people, even those who were athletes growing up, become less active once they enter the professional world. As a working adult, you can find it hard to engage in the same sports you used to. But if you commit to staying active, it will pay off throughout your lifetime.
“For younger people, I encourage them to learn what they need to do to maintain a strong core,” Dr. Ekstrom said. “It will prevent or reduce back pain now, and it will also help you continue doing the sports and activities you enjoy longer.”
In addition to strengthening your core muscles, Dr. Ekstrom recommends exercises or activities to improve your balance. It’s another way to stay in the game longer—and reduce your risk of falls or injuries.
A healthy back for older adults
Many of Dr. Ekstrom’s patients are older adults who are already experiencing back pain. But no matter the age, Dr. Ekstrom recommends staying active or increasing your activity level if you’re not very active right now.
“Arthritis is a very common cause of low back pain, and it’s something a lot of people are dealing with. Staying active will help decrease your pain,” Dr. Ekstrom said.
It’s important to find ways to keep moving as you get older. Even walking more can help decrease back and joint pain over time.
“My advice is to figure out what activities you enjoy doing, and find a way to keep doing them throughout your life,” Dr. Ekstrom said.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Plymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.
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