Listen to “How To Keep Your Spine Healthy “.
The spinal column is one of the most important parts of the body, and it serves two essential purposes: It keeps us balanced and upright, and houses and protects the central nervous system. When the spinal column is in good health, it helps the whole body to be healthy too.
Spinal disorders such as back pain, neck pain, scoliosis, stenosis, and disc disease are common and can severely affect a person’s overall health in a variety of ways from impacting a person’s ability to enjoy everyday activities and work to disrupting healthy sleep patterns.
The back is a complex structure with many delicate parts, but with good judgment and healthy lifestyle habits, including proper lifting, good posture and exercise, it’s possible to avoid more common back pains caused by strained muscles. For more complicated spinal problems such as scoliosis, stenosis, fractures or injuries from trauma, medical intervention is usually necessary for effective treatment.
Regardless of whether or not you spinal problems, you can benefit from adopting healthier lifestyle habits to keep your spine as strong as possible.
Here are a few tips to help you take better care of your spine and back:
- Regular cardiovascular exercise can reduce the risk of injury.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises can increase back and abdomen flexibility. Yoga is the perfect tool to keep your spine flexible and strong.
- Get up and walk around every 15-30 minutes if you have a sedentary, sitting job.
- Try to maintain a good posture and be mindful of it throughout the day. Realign yourself regularly.
- To prevent muscle fatigue, avoid staying in one position for too long. Shift positions, or get up and move around every 30 minutes to an hour.
- When standing for long periods (whether teaching a class, ironing, or washing dishes), try resting one foot on a low ledge, stool, or box.
- Maintain good posture even while sitting. Don’t slouch or hold your head too far forward.
- If sitting at a computer make sure that your shoulders are relaxed and away from your ears; your elbows are by your sides, bent to about 90 degrees; your wrists are neutral (not bent up, down, or away from each other) and your head is facing forward without protrusion.
- When using a mobile phone or tablet for non-voice activities, hold it up in front of your face, instead of bending your neck to look down. The more you look down at your mobile phone or tablet, the more your muscles have to work to keep your head up. At just 45 degrees, your neck muscles are doing the same work as they would if they were lifting a 50 lb bag of potatoes.
What you eat can directly impact your spine
You may not think that your diet affects your spine, but it actually plays a vital role.
A healthy diet consisting mostly of lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is ideal for building a lean body and strengthening the muscles that support the spine.
To improve the condition of your spine, supplement your diet with a multivitamin along with a B-complex and Omega-3s, as they have been shown to help decrease pain in the nerves of the spine.
Pay attention to how you sleep and how long you sleep for
Studies suggest that insufficient sleep is associated with increased neck and back problems. It is important to get a sufficient amount (between six and eight hours) and of course, to sleep in a position that enables the spine to relax. The ideal position is on your side, as that puts the least amount of pressure on the spine.
To aid your slumber, create a proper sleep sanctuary by choosing a suitable mattress and pillow for comfort, eliminating all outdoor light and providing fresh cool air. You should also avoid interacting with any electronic devices at bedtime as this can have an adverse affect your sleep patterns.
Don’t hesitate to meditate
Meditation can restore alertness, improve mood, increase productivity and prolong life, not to mention the positive effects it can have on your spine and posture. People who meditate tend to focus on their core, automatically straightening their spines in the process.