One of the best gifts that you can give yourself as you age is the gift of a strong and healthy spine. Back health is one of those things that we usually don’t think about until it’s too late and we’re faced with a problem. The good news, however, is that it’s almost never too late to improve the health of our spines and joints. Here are a few ways to love your spine and to have it love you in return.
- Quit smoking. Smoking decreases the oxygen level in your body that it requires for healthy bones. Long term smoking can lead to spine problems and weakened muscles in the back.
- Learn proper sleeping posture. Your mattress should be of medium firmness and your pillow should be capable of supporting both your head and your neck. It’s important to ensure that your head and back are properly aligned while sleeping too.
- Make a real effort to reduce your stress level. Stress amplifies pain symptoms, so management techniques can help to reduce back pain. Yoga and guided imagery are very spine-friendly activities for relieving stress.
- Practice proper posture. Not only will standing up straight help your back, you’ll look and feel much more confident as well. Remember that proper posture doesn’t mean standing at attention; it means keeping the back in its natural position.
- Learn about ergonomics. Understanding how the equipment in your office affects your body is crucial for spine health, as workplace repetition is a major cause of stress on the back. Learning how to make your work center back-friendly will greatly reduce long-term damage to your spine.
- Lose excess weight. Chances are good that you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, which can lead to serious spine damage over time. Talk to your chiropractor to find out your ideal weight and what damage being overweight can cause.
- Strengthen your core. Working the muscles in your abdomen and lower back area can help relieve and prevent back problems. Walking, running, and Pilates are good activities for the spine, but you can also benefit from weight-bearing exercises like yoga and weight lifting. Also some good, old-fashioned crunches to strengthen the abs are always a good call.
- Stretch, stretch and then stretch some more. Get in the habit of stretching out before any physical exertion, whether it’s working out or simply puttering in the garden. Stretching regularly will keep your spine flexible and less prone to strains or sprains.
- Lift with your legs, not your back. You’ve heard that advice hundreds of times, but there’s a reason clichés exist. Your leg muscles are much stronger than your back, and should always bear the brunt of your lifting.
- Take care of your feet. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes that are designed to absorb shock. That means if you must wear high heels, you should only wear them on special occasions. There’s really not many things more damaging to your spine than high heels.
If you have any questions about how to take care of your spine, talk to your chiropractic team. Your chiropractor is an expert on how to prevent back injury and keep you feeling strong and healthy for years to come.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.