If you ever had back pain you can attest to how it can affect every aspect of your life. The condition of your spine can be in direct proportion to your quality of life. Knowing this, what can you do to keep your spine in the best shape possible? The following are 4 effective techniques to help you achieve your goals:
Exercise: A strong core supports the spine, reducing the amount of physical stress on ligaments, bones, discs and nerves. When our core is weak this can lead to pain and injury. The problem is not all exercises are created equal. The emphasis should be on spine-safe exercises. Some examples are planks, side bridges, bridges, curl-ups and birddogs. (if you are unfamiliar with these exercises feel free to contact the office with any questions). Exercises we need to avoid are any that have us slumping while sitting or rounding our backs ex: traditional sit-ups.
Sleep: We can spend anywhere from 6-10 hours lying in one or two positions. Which position you are in can support or stress you spine. If you are a side sleeper a pillow between the knees or a back sleeper a pillow underneath your knees can reduce strain. Avoid laying on your stomach not just for your back but for your neck as well. Lets not forget your mattress and pillow matters. (Call if you need any suggestions)
Nutrition: We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat” and yes this applies to your spine as well. Let’s start with the fact that the discs of your spine are 75% water. It is important that we stay hydrated. A good formula to follow is half your body weight in ounces. Food can also influence your spine by how much inflammation they produce. An anti-inflammatory diet can prevent stiffness and injury. Examples of foods that reduce inflammation are fresh fruits and vegetables, lean sources of protein and oils high in omega 3. Things to avoid are processed foods high in sugar, salt, and trans-fats.
Chiropractic Care: You can’t have a conversation about spine health without discussing chiropractic. Research has demonstrated it is an effective tool for treating neck and lower back pain as well as reducing re-occurrence rates. Chiropractic is used by top athletes with the understanding that it keeps them performing at their highest levels. You don’t need to be a top athlete to recognize that functioning at your highest level is essential to being a parent, generating income and helping others!