Steps For Maintaining a Healthy Spine
Back pain is one of the most common complaints any medical professional will ever address. Every year, millions of working days are lost as people succumb to chronic back issues, costing an astonishing 65 billion dollars in lost revenue and medical intervention. And of course, the impact of back pain on a person’s quality of life is incalculable. Our backs are our life. Spinal health is critical to every other function in our bodies. Like all body parts, your spine and the vertebral discs that cushion it can wear away over time, leading to a host of other maladies. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to keep your back healthy and flexible and capable of supporting your body and physical freedom the way it should for years to come.
Watch your weight – Excess pounds can put a strain on your back. Since most fat is carried in the front of the body, this causes the muscles and ligaments around the thoracic and lumbar, or middle and lower portions of the back, to have to work harder to support it. Obesity is a leading cause of lumbar disc degeneration and herniation, so try to maintain an appropriate healthy weight to stave off injuries down the line.
Stretch often – Flexible muscles are much more resistant to injury than tight ones. Daily activities, including the repetitive types of movement we do, often make our spines less flexible as time goes by. Put your back through a stretching routine that moves through the full range of motion. Be careful not to do too much too quickly though. Start with light stretches and gradually increase the range of flexion over time.
Don’t ignore your core – Your core muscles are those that make up your abdomen, lower back, and upper pelvis. This group of muscles is significant for preventing spinal injuries as well as maintaining your posture, preventing lower back pain, and generating the strength needed to carry on healthy daily activities. Stretch and exercise these core muscles daily.
Provide nutritional support – Healthy bones and muscles require the right mix of nutrients to keep up with growth and maintenance. Be sure you’re getting enough calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin D3 for your age. Drink plenty of water, and avoid habits that are known to contribute to bone deterioration. Smoking, low-nutrient diets, and excessive alcohol consumption are known to contribute to osteopenia, which will ultimately take a severe toll on your spinal column.
Protect your posture – Be conscious of how you hold your back and head throughout the day. Avoid slouching and try to change your posture frequently, avoiding repetitive motions that can strain the back and neck over time. Use pillows strategically at night to try to maintain linearity in the spine from head to tailbone. Sleep on your back or side only; stomach sleeping will cause neck pain and low back strain after a while.
Consult a chiropractor – Chiropractors are spinal health specialists who can help you regain and maintain spinal alignment to alleviate any number of osteopathic disorders. Studies show that patients that utilize chiropractic care report a significant reduction in back pain, fewer lost work days, and fewer surgeries.
Dr. Trevor Adams, D.C. is a certified chiropractor at Vertical Chiropractic in Fort Worth, Texas. Schedule a consultation for your spinal assessment today to find out if chiropractic care can offer you a solution to your back pain.