10 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY SPINE
1) Move It Or Lose It: You must get up and move more. Our spines are not designed to sit around at all. Unfortunately, our lifestyles and work typically involve utilizing those 2 cushy pads for pillows instead of walking and running the way they were intended for. Get up and move more.
2) Exercise regularly: Spinal tissue repair and remodeling is determined by the stresses they are subjected to. Regular exercise and stretching will promote a stronger and more stable spine. Just a daily walk can make a significant impact in your overall health and spinal function.
3) It's Flexibility: Consider what the spine is made up of, 72 individual joints, all held together with tiny muscles, tendons and ligaments and every little piece must move to stay healthy, strong and happy. These tissues get stuck and lose mobility in everyone and weight training will not help. Focus more on stretching than weight training in your exercise routine. Consider equipment like a balance ball routine or yoga. Our bodies need much more stretching and cardiovascular exercises that high resistance training.
4) Eat Healthy: Yes, you are what you eat and your spine and supporting tissues use the nutrients you eat to repair, strengthen and coordinate each one of those little joints and disks. This will help reduce the risk of injury.
5) If You Must Sit, Sit On This: Contrary to the old school of "proper ergonomics", once you understand the function and purpose of the spine and all the tissues involved in keeping it happy, the last thing you would want to do is splint, support and baby it to the point that the muscles get to weak to support it. Having a nice lumbar back support sounds nice, but when you provide external support to any part of the body, the muscles take a nap. We will always tend to lean on something if it is in the way. Try sitting on a balance ball instead. Since it has no support, your muscles actually have to do what they are supposed to, support you.
6) Good Posture: Yes, granny was right. Maintaining good posture can be a chore, but the more you do it, the less of a chore it will become. Practice, and soon you wont have to think about it. Occasionally, we can develop very real physical restrictions like scar tissue of tendon and ligament shortening from years of poor spinal hygiene. These issues should be evaluated by a qualified spine physician.
7) Take A Break: Sitting or standing in one place for to long is not going to make any spine happy. Take a break as often as possible to move some. If breaks are not frequent enough then wiggle a bit, move some. We are not statues and we are supposed to be moving or sleeping. Better yet, sit on that ball at work. You will naturally have a tendency to move while you work. This will reduce stiffness, pain, headaches, soreness and guess what happens then. You get more work done for your boss, less "i hurt my back and can not come in to work " days.
8) Wear Good Shoes: You must provide good support under your feet all the time when they are being used. A decent pair of walking shoes, running shoes or tennis shoes are typically the best. Yes, you must wear these shoes inside your house as well. Barefoot, bunny slipper and flip flops are not good for your spine. If you need to buy a pair of shoes and keep them inside the house next to the door so you don't track dirt in then do it.
9) Sleep On Your Back Or Side: These positions are more natural and less stressful to the spine. Never sleep on your stomach. More strain/sprain injuries to the tissues around the spine happen when your sleeping than at any other time. We get in these twisted positions, while the muscles which are supposed to be protecting the underlying tissues are sleeping as well. This is why most people wake up with a :crick" or "catch" in their neck or back. That is a strain/sprain injury, just a minor one.
10) Have Regular Spinal Checkups: Every part of your body needs to be taken care of to stay healthy. Your teeth, eyes, heart and everything else. Unfortunately, many people don't even realize they have a spine until it hurts. Back pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States and it does not have to be if we would just learn how to take care of it.
Provided by Dr. James D. McLelland D.C.
Chiropractic Centers of Short Pump
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