Tips for a Healthy Spine

Guest blog post by Luke Douglas from ripped.me

Millions of people are affected by back pain worldwide and it is, in fact, one of the leading causes of job-related disabilities. Apart from having to live with the pain, spine problems can reduce your quality of life, rendering you incapable of accomplishing even simple, routine activities. However, taking care of your spine now will help you lower the chances of developing back problems later in life. Listed below are some preventive steps you can take in order to keep your spine healthy:

Sleep well

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Photo by Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash

Good posture isn’t only important while you are awake, but also while you are sleeping. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, because it puts too much pressure on your spine. Sleeping on your side, however, is not only better for your back, but it can also help prevent sleep apnea and give you a better night’s sleep. It is also important to have proper lumbar support by having a supportive mattress as well as a pillow that encourages the proper alignment of your neck.

Maintain good posture

Correct posture is the first and the most important step you could take in order to prevent most back issues. That is why you should always keep your back straight, whether you are sitting or standing. Avoid slouching forward or leaning back into your chair while you are sitting. While standing, always stand tall in a balanced way and make sure your ear, mid-shoulder, hip, mid-knee and ankle are aligned.

Think about surgery

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While taking preventive measures in order to preserve the health of your spine is always a good idea, some existing spine conditions, such as degenerative scoliosis, spondylolisthesis or cervical and lumbar herniated discs, might need a more invasive solution. Before you decide on this solution, it is extremely important to do extensive research about the procedure and find an excellent surgeon, such as the world-renowned Dr Timothy Steel, who is specialized and experienced in this branch of medicine.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese or gaining a significant amount of weight in a short period of time are all risk factors for back pain, because they put more strain on the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your lower back. Therefore, try to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight by combining exercise with a healthy, balanced diet.

Stay active

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Photo by Charlotte Karlsen on Unsplash

If you are not active or physically fit, you are at an increased risk of developing back problems. Whether you go to the gym regularly, go on hikes, ride your bike or simply play with your kids, it is important to stay active and keep your body moving in order to maintain a healthy spine. If you want to start an exercise routine in order to help your back, the best routine is one that combines stretching, strengthening and aerobics.

Don’t be stationary

Proper ergonomics will help reduce a lot of stress that is put on both your upper and your lower back and prevent the development of conditions such as stiff back, carpal tunnel and sciatica. That is why you should make sure your workplace is set up for your specific needs – choose a chair that provides good back support, keep your knees at a 90-degree angle and let your feet rest comfortably on the floor. Staying in the same position for a long time can also cause your back muscles to stiffen up and become immobile, which is why it’s important to take regular breaks, to get up and take a walk around the office or your home.

Drink enough water

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Photo by Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash

Our spinal discs are vulnerable to loss of hydration, which often leads to herniated or slipped discs, a condition that occurs when the loss of fluid causes the discs to become brittle and slip out of place. In order to maintain the elasticity of soft tissue and fluidity in the joints, make sure to drink sufficient amounts of water every day and stay hydrated.

Most of the steps you can take to improve the health of your spine simply involve practicing better body mechanics while you are doing your everyday activities. These are small changes to incorporate into your life that have great benefits for your overall health and that your spine will be thankful for in the years to come.