We often take our backs for granted, and with additional strains from stress and a hectic schedule, our backs suffer and pay the price. It's time to stop taking your back for granted, so make yourself a simple resolution this year to relieving stress, and alleviating back pains.

1. Get Out and Walk

Walking is a good low-impact activity that wakes up our muscles and improves our cardiovascular strength. But some health experts say it can help our backs as well. An article by James McCommons on Better Homes and Gardens website says walking releases endorphins and serotonin, which make the whole body feel good. Working the muscles and nerves in the arms and legs may override nerve pain coming from the back. The act of walking may not feel great while you're doing it, especially if it's not part of your routine, but should feel better as you progress.

2. Stretch

You don't have to perform major exercises to work out your kinks. The staff at Athletico, a physical therapy office in Illinois, says there are simple, low-impact stretches you can do that help your flexibility and loosen muscles, joints and nerves. If done properly, these shouldn't cause pain, but instead relieve it. The regimen can include lumbar extensions, nerve stretches and many more easy-to-learn moves.

3. Eat Better

Though back aches can be the result of musculoskeletal problems, the Spine-Health blog says healthier foods such as more protein, nutrients and vitamins can help offer relief, while poorer quality foods like carbohydrates can detract from the health of your back and related muscles.

4. Seek Professional Help

If you still suffer from back pains after trying to relieve it on your own, it might be time to get your back assessed professionally. Maybe something that was causing pain before has improved but other areas hurt more. There are a variety of specialists who can discuss treatments for back pain, including anesthesiologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, psychiatrists and orthopedic surgeons. Choose someone who you feel comfortable with and welcomes questions. Ask around about minimally invasive surgery, and if it could possibly be the right option for you. Back surgery doesn't have to take you out of the game for the entire year, and learning more about these types of procedures is the first step to a healthy back.