4 surprising ways you can help your back

It's not too late to embark on a resolution for the new year, and if you're looking for something simple that can help you improve a few different aspects of your health and wellness, now is the perfect time to start thinking about caring for your back and spine. Many adults suffer from back pain, but few actually know what to do to care for it.

"We have a high-tech and high-intervention model that is not working," Dr. Todd Sinett, a New York-based chiropractor, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I don't believe back pain is all that complicated. The reason we have this epidemic is we only look at a third of the diagnosis."

Sinett explained that back pain is really a symptom of an inflammatory problem that's usually due to structural, nutritional or emotional influences. To treat these factors, here are four ways you can work your way to a better back in 2016:

  1. De-stress. Not too many people realize just how significantly stress can influence or cause back pain. In fact, a study from Stanford University found that emotional outlook and stress were the number one cause of back pain. Sinett also pointed out that during and after the holiday season, people are more likely to be under a lot of stress and suddenly experience back pain. There's a good chance your stress and back pain are related, so working on your emotional health can actually make your back feel better.
  2. Eat better. Everyone knows the saying "You are what you eat," but few understand its validity. If you eat poorly or don't do enough to manage your digestive issues, you could be causing a chemical imbalance in your body leading to inflammation around your spine. Recent research has suggested that diets with low nutritional value can increase or prolong pain. Resolving to eat healthier with a more balanced diet and drink more water can improve your back health in the new year.
  3. Strengthen your core. Working out core muscles does more than make you look good. It gives you a better foundation to carry your own weight. Sinett's book "3 Weeks to a Better Back" suggests certain core-strengthening workouts that reduce pain in your back, such as the "Standing Side Twist." This exercise asks you to stand up with your hands on your hips, twisting your abdomen to one side and holding for five seconds, then twisting to the other. Sinett recommends repeating this exercise 12 times for optimal results.
  4. Improve your posture. While boosting your core strength helps with posture, it takes a little more effort to make sure you're standing and sitting up straight all the time. If you're looking to properly align yourself, it's important to pay attention to your spine, shoulders and pelvis and make sure everything is balanced and your body is using the right muscles to hold itself up.

If you're experiencing chronic back pain, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.