I may not be one to be preaching since I am currently heavily medicated for back pain but here are some suggestions (which I obviously didn’t follow myself) for keeping your back healthy during all the craziness:
● Take a break... Get up from that computer desk every so often and stretch.
● Take a walk... take a lap around the building, go say hi to someone in another lab, get that blood flowing!
● Do yoga... It does wonders! It is good for your core and your soul. I used to think it was boring, but I found a couple instructors I like and now I LOVE it!
● Eat (generally) healthy... try to limit foods that cause inflammation such as food high in salt and/or artificial sweeteners. I know it’s unrealistic to tell a graduate student to lay off the alcohol, but, FYI, that causes inflammation too.
● Drink more water... I know coffee & Coke are necessary staples for most of us but make sure to down some good old H2O between your hits of caffeine. Green tea is a pretty good alternative to coffee and it has the added benefit of having anti-inflammatory properties.
● Watch your weight... I tend to fluctuate 5-10 lbs each year. When I get into that range I notice my back hurts more.
● Get a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed... Stick a pillow between your legs if you tend to sleep on your side. It really helps.
● Get yourself a pair of shoes with good support... We’re working in a lab; you don’t need to impress anyone with fancy kicks.
● And, finally, something I have thought about but never done... Replace your desk chair with an exercise ball. Work your core while working your brain.