Millions of people experience back or neck pain every day. However, it is not only the pain that you have to deal with, living with this condition can ultimately affect your quality of life. It may cause you to miss work or school, prevent you from doing simple tasks, and stop you from enjoying activities you love.
Having a healthy spinal cord is extremely important. The spine plays a more significant role in your life than you can imagine. Keeping it strong will reduce the risk of you getting back pains later in life.
The good news is that maintaining your spine health is straightforward. Adhering to some good habits and practicing better body mechanics will go a long way in improving the overall health of your spine.
Here are 10 tips to a healthy spine:
- Exercise Regularly
Adopting a good exercise regimen will allow you to maintain a healthy spine as well as rehabilitate an injured one.
Allot some time every day for some activities that will stretch and strengthen your back, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles.These simple exercises will help circulate nutrients into your tissues, accelerate healing of injuries, and keep your bones and muscles in good shape.
You don’t have to be a star athlete or an expert in physical fitness to treat your spine with exercise. However, you can seek help from a trained professional to tailor-fit the program to your needs.
- Lift Properly
It is easy to damage or twist your spine if you lift an object without proper form. Lifting heavy things improperly can result in back injury and painful muscle strains. Additionally, if unsupported, it may cause your joints to lock and your spinal discs to rupture.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, to lift correctly:
- Stand as close to the object as possible
- Use your legs and knees, not your back or upper body, to pull them up
- Lead with your hips rather than your shoulders. It is best if you can bend your knee so that arms are at the same height as the item.
- Keep your head down and chest forward to straighten your back.
If you feel the item is too heavy for you to carry, don’t even attempt it — get help!
- Take Time to Meditate
Research has shown that taking time every day to relax and meditate can offer relief for back pain. You also don’t need much to practice this activity. All you need is a quiet space and at least 10 minutes on your own. Some may prefer a dark room, while others gravitate towards a room with natural lighting. You can opt to do walking meditations or stay still. Whichever you choose, make sure that you feel free and comfortable to make it effective.
You can also enroll in yoga or tai chi. Breathing and stretching exercises in these practices can promote better spine health.
- Check Your Posture
Many people slouch when they sit or when they walk, and often, they are not even aware they have bad posture.
The spine is a bone system that forms a natural curve. It is crucial that you support this arch or you may damage your spinal nerves. Sitting puts a load on your spinal discs, which can get inflamed or compressed over time. Being constantly aware of the way you sit or stand can be challenging. Instead, take time to stretch or walk every few minutes. Set an alarm or put a note where it is easy to spot to remind you that it’s time to adjust your posture.
- Go for a Walk
The benefits of walking are significant. Not only will it give you time for a break or to meditate, but it is also recommended to care for a healthy spine. Walking can strengthen your core muscles to keep your body upright. It can also increase your spine flexibility, improve balance, and strengthen your bone structure.
Just be sure that you get a clearance from your doctor before doing a walking program, especially if you are in pain. You don’t have to take a single long walk to start, a few short walks each day will suffice.
- Stay Hydrated
Hydration maintains the elasticity and fluidity of the soft tissues in your joints. The spinal discs, particularly, are vulnerable to dehydration, causing them to shrink. Herniated or slipped discs occur once the discs lose fluid, become brittle, and then slip out of place.
Sciatica is the most common result of herniated discs, which could cause pain that runs from the back down to the legs. Additionally, the degradation of spinal discs reduces the protective padding of your spine which can impact its structural health.
Drinking adequate amounts of water can prevent these issues from surfacing.
- Sleep Tight
Your body repairs itself during your sleep so having a good night’s rest is essential to your overall health.
When you lie down, make sure that your pillow supports the curve of your neck and back. Also, do not sleep on your stomach; this puts pressure on your spine. Instead, sleep on your side or back.
If you sleep on your side, place the pillow in the middle of your shoulder to support your neck and head. Also, put a pillow between your legs to remove the burden on your lower spine.
If you sleep on your back, use a medium or flat pillow to keep your head low relative to your body. Place a pillow under your knees, as well, to maintain the normal arch of your lower back.
- Eat Right and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Proper diet and nutrition improve your overall health. To strengthen your bones, consume foods that are rich in calcium and other nutrients and vitamins that can help prevent spinal conditions such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Eat foods that are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements.
In general, aim to maintain a healthy weight to lighten the pressure on your spine. This also reduces your risk of back injuries.
- Work Smart
Lower back pain is one of the leading cause of job-related disability. Most of the time, health is overlooked at work. When you work in the industrial sector, you may often be tasked to lift things. Observe proper lifting techniques to avoid injury.
If you work in an office, you may typically be stuck sitting all day. To prevent spinal injury due to a sedentary lifestyle, arrange your desk and chair so it allows for optimal spinal support. Other options you can consider is using a stand-up desk or sitting on an exercise ball. You can also opt to walk from work to home to keep yourself active.
- Treat Yourself to a Chiropractic and Massage Therapy
Studies have shown that massage is an effective treatment for back pain. It aids the recovery sore muscles and increases your endorphin levels.
Chiropractic treatment, in particular, maintains that there is a connection between your spine and overall health. The correct manipulation and alignment of the spine can ease pain and support the body’s ability to heal itself.
A trip to a licensed chiropractor or massage therapist can help your body get the relaxation and healing it needs.
If you are seeking the best care for your spine, visit Fairway Chiropractic Centre. Our team will provide you with the health and wellness service you deserve. Message us online or call us at (519) 748-5535 to request an appointment.