Our spine is one of the most important parts of our nervous system. It’s a known fact that poor spinal health can affect our overall health. Yet, beyond general comments about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not enough advice is provided on how to keep your spine in good condition or why it is important to do so.
How your spine is connected to your health
We are all aware that any kind of injury to our spinal cord can lead to serious permanent damages. But we overlook the small ways in which our spine affects our health. An integral part of the nervous system, the spine is connected to pretty much every area in your body and any complications here can affect your body as a whole.
An unhealthy spine can lead to poor digestion, lack of concentration, and an overall weak immune system. And the effects go beyond internal health. A healthy spine allows flexible, free movement. If it’s not in good shape, even the smallest of movements comes with great difficulty. Walking, running, and even something as simple as breathing can turn out to be painstaking. According to Dr. Ronald A. Lehman, Jr., an untreated spine can cause a person to experience regular pain in their legs, lower back, or feel numb in all these areas.
What can you do to take care of your spine? Here are some essential tips:
If you have a job that involves sitting for hours on end, make sure to adjust your chair to get adequate spinal support. If typing or working at a computer, keep the screen at eye level and ensure your forearms have adequate support. Such measures reduce the stress on your spine and shoulders.
Regular exercise, including stretches and strength training, can help your core muscles – that is the back and abdomen muscles. While gentle stretches can be done at home, we suggest strength training be done under supervision. Going on regular walks can also bring benefits, as your spine becomes more flexible with regular walking.
- Lifting right
Most people ignore the effects of the strain one experiences while lifting an object. Depending on the weight of the object, stand close to it, bend your knees if necessary, and use the strength of your legs and knees rather than your back or upper part of the body to lift the object. Remember not to bend your back when picking up something from the floor. Instead, bend your knees and squat or sit when doing so.
- Sleeping right
A good night’s rest helps the body, but the position matters. Sleeping on the stomach places stress on the spine, preventing it from maintaining its neutral position. In fact, over a period, such a position could cause back or neck pain. Sleeping on the side is advocated by the medical community, as when done properly, it can prevent and reduce back pain.
As a last tip, we suggest periodic chiropractic care – a non-intrusive and drug-less practice focused on spine health. But while it’s a great way of boosting your well-being, it will work better when you take steps to keep yourself healthy, beginning with more mindfulness towards the postures you adopt, no matter the activity you perform.