The Importance of a Healthy Spine
I wonder how many people truly understand the importance of having a healthy spine, what it does for them, and how much they need and depend on it.
- Almost every move we make originates from the spine.
- It is the structural support system of the body.
- It determines our core strength.
- It helps determine how fast we age, or at least how old we feel.
- It protects your spinal cord which houses our nerve roots.
- It is used by our nervous system to send the electrical impulses throughout our body that enable sensations such as cold, warmth, pressure and pain.
- It provides the support and balance that allows us to stand upright.
- It enables flexible motion.
- It enables you to sleep properly.
It's important to pay attention to our spinal health...
When the spine has been injured, or is degenerating, it obviously prevents us from functioning well and it lowers our life expectancy as opposed to people who have a healthy spine and healthy nervous system.
Damage to the spine can occur to the spine from falls, sports accidents, car accidents, during pregnancy and during childbirth and can lead to a weakened immune system, chronic pain that can become disabling, fatigue, and difficulties with digestion.
What are some of the things you can do to protect your spine?
- You can start with a simple, but very important step, and that is to practice good posture, both sitting and standing. It may take some practice and reminding yourself to do it, but good posture is really worth the effort. Not only is it good for your spine, but it will help you breathe better, digest better and help your blood flow better.
- Lift correctly. Too many people use their backs when they are lifting, when they should be relying more on the legs and the knees. Do this by standing close to whatever you want to pick up, and rather than bend at the waist, bend at the hips and knees.
- Get a good night's sleep. This is the time when our bodies heal and regenerate from the trials and strains of the day. You should try to avoid sleeping on your stomach, which causes your back to arch. Sleeping on your side is a preferable position.
- Proper and regular exercise promotes good spinal health. Participate in aerobic, stretching and core strengthening exercises, which will help you stay flexible, strengthen joint function, range of motion and spinal health.
- Along with exercise, you are kind to your spine if you maintain a healthy weight, which reduces strain on your lower back.
- Staying hydrated is also important for good spinal health...when spinal discs become dehydrated, they have a tendency to shrink and possibly become herniated or bulging.
As you can see, maintaining good spinal health isn't rocket science, it just good common sense, but it requires practising that good common sense daily. Along with practising the steps I've listed above, it's a good idea to have a chiropractic exam regularly. Any irregularities in your spine can be identified and corrected before they become bigger problems.