5 Ways to Keep Your Spine Healthy

When it comes to our health, typically we think of eating healthy, exercising and getting spineplenty of sleep. But what about the health of our spine? After all, it does protect one of the most important systems of the body, the nervous system.

The nervous system controls every other system in the body from muscle movement to breathing. So what can we do to keep our spine in tip top shape?

Massage Therapy

Not only are massages good for relaxation for the mind, but also for the muscles of the body. Muscles around the spine can become tight and pull on the vertebrae of the spine, causing irritation of the spinal cord which can result in pain and disruption of other body systems.

Chiropractic Care

Subluxations, also known as misalignments, occur throughout the spine and joints of the body. These misalignments can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in pain, headaches, tingling, digestion issues, etc. Chiropractors correct misalignments to promote good nervous system health.

Stop Smoking

Smokers tend to have more back pain than nonsmokers and for longer periods of time. Smokers heal at a slower rate when they have an episode of back pain because the chemicals in tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in and around the spine.

Good Posture

While sitting at your desk, keep in mind good posture techniques to avoid lack of circulation, muscle tension, and headaches. (Here are some posture tips for at work!)When carrying or lifting things, use your knees instead of bending down at the
waist.

bad-sleepWe often forget to think about our posture while we are sleeping. The best position for your spine is when you lay on your side. Put a pillow between your legs or knees to reduce pressure on the lower back, plus it helps better align the neck. Check to see if your pillow has enough support for your head and neck to avoid headaches.

Exercising

Yes, exercising is good for your spinal health! People who are overweight tend to have more spinal dysfunction due to more pressure applied to the spine and a shift in center of gravity. Try to stretch your back muscles regularly to avoid tight muscles, which will help reduce subluxations. Having good back and core strength helps promote good posture.

If you have more questions about spinal health ask one of our doctors!

Tips for a Healthy Spine

spineA healthy spine is often overlooked and is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Approximately 80-90% of the population suffers from spinal pain at some point in their lives. Because so many of us suffer from spine pain, it’s important for you to try to keep your spine as healthy as possible. The American Chiropractic Association recommends the following spinal health tips for you to do at home:

~Do not stand bent forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. The muscles in your low back become deconditioned in this position, which may lead to pain.

~Avoid twisting while lifting. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine. If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.

~Do NOT bend over at the waist to pick up items. Instead, kneel down on one knee, with the other foot flat on the floor, then pick up the item. You can also squat down and pick it up with an extended arm.

~Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees may reduce the pressure on your back while sleeping. Never sleep in a position that causes a portion of your spine to hurt. Sleeping on your stomach can cause a lot of rotation in your neck which can cause misalignments and pain.

~Spinal adjustments are a great way to prevent any future pain or misalignments and can help subside any current pain you are having. Chiropractic care, while mostly used for acute care, can also be used as a preventative care!

 

Your Posture and Chiropractic

Why is good posture important?

Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Correct posture:

  • Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
  • Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, and minimizing the likelihood of injury.
  • Allows muscles to work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue.
  • Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.

To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as we
ll as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine.postureex

Consequences of poor posture

Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax, when held in certain positions for long periods of time. For example, you can typically see this in people who bend forward at the waist for a prolonged time in the workplace. Their postural muscles are more prone to injury and back pain.
Several factors contribute to poor posture–most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and high-heeled shoes.  In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.

Can I correct my posture?

In a word, yes. Remember, however, that long-standing postural problems will typically take longer to address than short-lived ones, as often the joints have adapted to your long-standing poor posture.

Conscious awareness of your own posture and knowing what posture is correct will help you consciously correct yourself. With much practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture. This, in turn, will help you move toward a better and healthier body position.

A doctor of chiropractic can assist you with proper posture, including recommending exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles. He or she can also assist you with choosing proper postures during your activities, helping reduce your risk of injury.