When you hear that someone has a ‘backbone’ what comes to your mind? Usually someone you cannot easily walk over or take for granted. Yes, the backbone is known as being a symbol of strength in character. Having a backbone when it comes to our personality can be helpful in getting what we want out of life, but what about our literal backbone? An equal amount of commitment to our physical spine is essential for the strength of our whole body.
Just as a pile of pages can only become a book when it has a spine, so too our spine is the central support structure of our body. It is important our spinal health gets the attention it deserves. But how do we care for our spine? And what are some potential ways we could be endangering the health of this critical frame in our body’s architecture?
As our habits and behaviours change over time, so does the health of our spine. Lifestyles of many have become increasingly sedentary, many spending hours on devices with little or no movement, leading to issues with posture, weakened muscles and strain on the spine. Think right now about how you are sitting. Do you feel a subtle twinge of your spine communicating it’s not 100% happy with the way you are positioned? This might be the first indicator we are aware of, but is there anything that can be done to boost our spinal health? Of course!
You are only as young as your spine is flexible. A 30 year old with a stiff spine will seem much older than a 60 year old with flexibility in his spine. So, if you want a young spine - regardless of your age, try these four suggestions.
As mentioned earlier, poor posture can create stress on our spine. Rather than just telling yourself to sit up straight, think about the seating you gravitate towards. Is it relaxed, comfortable seating with little or no back support? Or can you make a conscious decision to choose better when you know you will be sitting for a length of time.
Daily Stretching and Exercise
Movement is one of the spines best friends. It doesn’t have to be high intensity exercise. Many have noted increased mobility after spending quality time each day stretching out the spine and giving it time to flex. Swimming is also a great tool to increase the health of the spine. Spinal institutes around the world claim that this form of exercise is excellent for helping keep the muscles connected to the spine strong. The buoyancy of the water also alleviates strain if you are currently experiencing pain and trying to get your spine back to optimal health.
Bend your knees
A basic one, but often forgotten. Many spinal injuries are caused by lifting heavy items incorrectly by twisting incorrectly. Lifting with your legs and stomach muscles can prevent spinal strain and injury. Start with strengthening your core and leg muscles and you will find less need to rely on your back.
Head to toe
Our spines are affected by our heads right down to our toes. Your spine tops out at the base of your skull, so make sure your pillow is not causing unnecessary strain at a time when your body needs to rest and repair. A customised pillow with adequate support can prevent pressure and twisting of the spine.
What about your feet? Many are surprised to learn how shoes affect the alignment of your spine. Ill fitting shoes with lack of support can create pressure and a curve to the spine. This doesn’t mean you have to purchase purely functional shoes that, well let’s be honest, can be a little ugly. Start with some shoe inserts that can give you the required support.
Rather than just being another bone, the spine is a vital part of the body that affects the health of your whole body. By remembering the above suggestions, you can help it remain in good shape. If you find you are still struggling with issues relating to your spine, Clinic 38 can help check everything is running as it should. Don’t let your spinal health deteriorate before getting the needed help. Give us a call to book a consultation today.