Your spine is literally the backbone of everything you do. From breathing to running, from sleeping to standing upright, your spine is heavily involved. So when your back is sore, it can seriously affect your daily life. Taking care of your spine can also help you with long-term condition management of back pain or other problems.
Here are a few tips to improve your spine health:
Your spine is supported by a group of muscles and ligaments that keep it all in place. By keeping these muscles and connective tissue strong, healthy and well-balanced, you can help keep your spine and spinal cord in good alignment. In addition, exercise and stretching can increase the blood flow to the spine, improving the circulation to the discs of your back. Some beneficial activities include:
Consult your physician to make sure that you are healthy enough to exercise, and be sure to maintain proper form while doing them to prevent injury. Aim for at least 30 minutes, three times a week to get the greatest benefit from increased activity.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
According to the Cleveland Clinic, one way to improve spine health is to keep your body at a healthy weight for your height and build. Achieving a healthy weight can help reduce the strain on the muscles around your back and can reduce the pressure on the discs of the spine. Develop a combination of activity and dietary changes to accomplish your weight loss goals.
Make Your Workplace Spine-Friendly
You probably spend eight hours a day, five days a week at your desk. That's a long time to be doing repetitive movements, so invest in products that will reduce the strain on your back. These can include:
- Adjustable height desks
- Headset for your phone
- A footboard to rest your feet on
- Document holders
- Ergonomic keyboards and mouses
Remain active at work as well by taking frequent breaks for your hands and spine, take a short walk or do small stretches.
Twist and Turn With Care
Our backbone is amazing at twisting and turning, but to do so while carrying something heavy can cause too much strain. Instead, pivot with your hips and move your feet while keeping your spine aligned. Also make sure to lift with your legs, not your back.
Spine Safe Sleep
Like our workplace, we spend a considerable amount of time sleeping. It's important to invest in a quality mattress that will help you keep your spine healthy while you snooze. Firmness level will depend on your personal body structure. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends that you place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back as it reduces the strain on your spine by 50 percent. They also recommend placing a pillow between your knees if sleeping on your side.
However you position your body when you sleep, make sure that your hips, shoulders, and neck are in line through using pillows to support your position.
An important part of spine health is posture — its benefits are more than just being able to walk across the room with a book balanced on your head.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) encourages people to keep their earlobes in line with their shoulders; don't crane your neck forward or too far to the side. Keep your eyes level when possible and bring things that you're looking at to eye level, rather than bending your neck, i.e. use a document holder at work, and raise your computer monitor to the correct height.
Also, the ACA recommends that when standing for a long time to keep your knees slightly bent and to put one foot slightly in front of the other.
Your spine health is an important part of your everyday wellbeing and long-term condition management. Take care of your spine, and it will take care of you.