The spine is the supporting structure of the body—without it, you wouldn’t be able to stand upright. Poor spinal health has the potential to lead to back pain, impact the nervous system and make it extremely hard to live a healthy, active life. Your spine also protects your spinal cord and the delicate nerve tissue, and allows you to bend, flex, twist and move freely without damaging nerves.
What can you do to keep a healthy spine? Here are a few tips:
Know your history. We’re looking at you, mom and dad! Genetics and family history are good indicators of spinal health issues. While maintaining good posture can eliminate back pain, for some, the problem goes much deeper with conditions such as scoliosis and spinal disc issues. Conditions such as these may have larger implications than just pain, so you want to have knowledge of your family medical history.
Don’t Smoke! Nicotine leads to degeneration of the spine, affects the healing potential of soft tissue, and increases your perception of pain. Smoking creates an anaerobic environment. That means no oxygen gets to areas of trauma inhibiting healing potential. Nicotine also contributes to atherosclerosis (when plaque or other material builds up on the inside of blood vessels, causing decreased blood supply especially to areas such as the spine that are fed by very small vessels); therefore, it is vitally important that you avoid all forms of nicotine.
Use Proper Ergonomics. Posture plays a role in everything we do. When sitting or standing, maintain proper posture to help keep your bones and joints in alignment so your muscles are used correctly, minimizing the abnormal wearing out of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain. If you spend your day sitting, try a BackJoy SitSmart Posture Plus to help fix the way you sit. BackJoy’s SitSmart instantly tilts your pelvis upright as it cradles your glutes and floats you above the surface of your seat in total comfort. And don’t forget, a good sleeping posture on your back or side helps you preserve your curves and align your spine throughout the night so your back and body can recover from that hard work day and prepare you for the next day ahead.
Exercise. Staying fit and developing core strength helps keep your spine healthy and reduces back pain. If your back and abdominal muscles are not in good shape, additional pressure is put on your spine, which is already under enough stress trying supporting your entire body and keep you upright in balance. Be sure to include abdominal and back exercises into your gym routine.
These tips will help keep you moving and feeling great! Remember: health is a responsibility, not a privilege!