How to Maintain a Healthy Back

Today on the blog, Tulifts founder Debbie Corley talks about the important of back health.

One of the reasons Tulifts were created is because I was trying to figure out a way to support my boobs but also support my back. I thought that if my boobs were lifted and I didn't feel that "pull" on my chest, it would feel better for my back. As I've talked about before I have scoliosis and arthritis, so this was paramount that I figured this out. 

Having scoliosis and arthritis in my back was one of my biggest concerns being quarantined. I’m usually really active all day long and rarely sit. But with so much time on our hands and being confined to our homes, I had to figure out ways to make sure my back and posture stay healthy. Some of my routine stayed exactly the same, hot shower soon as I wake up, then my stretches and counter stretches, followed by meditation to set my intentions for the day. I did start running again, just until my yoga classes resume. I am being careful since I know running isn’t ideal for a bad back.

I researched new ways to keep my back and posture healthy during quarantine and I’d love to share with you what I learned.

Knee-to-chest stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Using both hands, pull up one knee and press it to your chest. Tighten your abdominals and press your spine to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. Return to the starting position and then repeat with both legs at the same time. Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably once in the morning and once at night.

Lower back rotational stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keeping both your shoulders firmly on the floor, roll your bent knees to one side. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably once in the morning and once at night. With this exercise, it’s more important to keep your shoulders on the floor than how far your knees can go to the side. Also to make this a bit easier you may keep your toes on the floor, it’s a bit easier on your lower back.

Bridge exercise
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your shoulders and head relaxed on the floor, and your head straight, tighten your abdominal and gluteal muscles. Then raise your hips to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Try to hold the position long enough to complete three deep breaths. Return to the starting position. Repeat. Start with five repetitions each day and gradually work up to 30. I do a supported bridge by using a yoga block.

Cat/Cow stretch
Position yourself on your hands and knees. Slowly arch your back, as if you're pulling your abdomen up toward the ceiling while looking down. Then slowly let your back and abdomen sag toward the floor while looking up. Return to the starting position. Repeat three to five times twice a day.

Seated lower back rotational stretch
Sit on an armless chair or a stool. Cross your right leg over your left leg. Bracing your left elbow against the outside of your right knee, twist and stretch to the side. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat this stretch three to five times on each side twice a day.

Shoulder blade squeeze
Sit on an armless chair or a stool. While maintaining good posture, pull your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds and then relax. Repeat three to five times twice a day. You can also join your hands behind your back and lift your arms towards to sky, while maintaining good posture. You may also do this while standing. It’s a good chest opening exercise also.

Child's Pose
Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. Rest your palms on top of your thighs. On an exhale, lower your torso between your knees. Extend your arms forward alongside your torso with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders toward the ground. Rest in the pose for as long as needed.

Here are some wonderful good posture suggestions for your back health to try:

Sitting posture ideas
• Switch sitting positions often
• Take brief walks around your office or home
• Gently stretch your muscles every so often to help relieve muscle tension
• Don't cross your legs; keep your feet on the floor, with your ankles in front of your knees
• Make sure that your feet touch the floor, or if that's not possible, use a footrest
• Relax your shoulders; they should not be rounded or pulled backwards
• Keep your elbows in close to your body. They should be bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
•Make sure that your back is fully supported. Use a back pillow or other back support if your chair does not have a backrest that can support your lower back's curve.
• Make sure that your thighs and hips are supported. You should have a well-padded seat, and your thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor.

Standing posture ideas
• Stand up straight and tall
• Keep your shoulders back
• Pull your stomach in
• Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet
• Keep your head level
• Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides
• Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.

I found this to be incredibly helpful and so far, my back has behaved like a champ! I hope you too are feeling well, and staying safe. I’d love to hear how you are staying healthy and strong during quarantine!

This is where I found most of my information to share with you (The Mayo Clinic and U. S. National library of medicine)