Top 10 Tips for Spine Care
Neck, back, and spine problems have become a major health problem for a large portion of Americans. Almost eighty percent of Americans deal with lower back pain during their lifetime. Additionally, about forty percent of Americans that are over forty years old are suffering from degenerative disc disease.
Spine care can not only help to prevent future spinal problems, but it can also usually help with your current neck or back problems. Read on for 10 tips on spinal care.
1 – Shed that Excess Weight
We know, easier said than done. But staying at a healthy weight is perhaps the most important tip for spinal care. The less weight you place on your back, the less stress on it there is, and the less of a chance you’ll injure your spine. In general, if you take care of your body, it will take care of you.
2 – Be Active
A large percentage of Americans have jobs where they sit most of the day, either in their office, a vehicle, or in front of a screen. Being active helps to counteract the negative effects of extended sitting. Getting regular exercise, even if it’s as simple as walking, is important for spine health. However, it can also be very beneficial to incorporate strength training and regular vigorous exercise.
3 – Use Proper Form and Safety Equipment When Exercising
Now that you know how important strength training and vigorous exercise, it’s also important to know that exercising, when done incorrectly, can do more harm than good for your spine. When exercising, be sure to use proper form. It’s better for you to lift less weight with proper form, than it is to lift more weight with improper form.
4 – Drive Safely
Sometimes car accidents are inevitable, and unfortunately they can often cause damage to our necks or back. One of the best ways to prevent an accident from causing lifelong spinal problems for you is to simply wear your seatbelt. Other important tips to remember is to be an alert driver, stay at or under the speed limit, and don’t let things like your phone or the radio take away your attention from the road.
5 – Keep Your Core Strong
Your core muscles, including your abs, obliques, and pecs are important in stabilizing your spine and providing support for the activities that you do. Exercises including yoga, pilates, planks, and various body weight exercises will help to strengthen your core.
6 – Proper Diet
Vitamins, especially vitamin D, and calcium are important for your body’s ability to prevent osteoporosis. A balanced diet including vegetables, fruits, and various proteins along with multivitamins, sunlight, and dairy products are all potential sources for these nutrients. You should also try to limit the amount of processed food and drinks with high amounts of sugar.
7 – Avoid Sitting for Extended Periods of Time
When people sit for long periods of time they tend to slouch, cross their legs, or cross their ankles, all of which are detrimental to the health of you neck and back. Try to take regular breaks if you sit a lot during work, at least every hour, to stand up, stretch, and even walk around.
8 – Cut Out the Tobacco Products
It may seem unrelated to spine issues, but smoking is actually linked with chronic back pain. Smoking causes a condition known as spondylosis, which can damage and pinch the spine, causing chronic pain.
9 – Stress Management
Being stressed tends to cause people’s backs to tense up and their muscles don’t want to relax. Stress can also weaken your immune system, cause insomnia issues, and lead to unhealthy eating. Find ways to manage, balance, and relieve your stress. Common stress management techniques include exercise, reading, therapy, and stretching.
10 – Don’t Ignore Chronic Pain
Last but not least, don’t ignore chronic pain. Pain is your body trying to tell you that something is wrong. If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain, visit your doctor to begin your diagnosis and treatment as ignoring chronic pain can often cause it to get worse.