Read on here to learn the best 8 tips about how do you keep your spine in good shape, healthy & strong as you age.
People often ask me about the simple guidelines & tips for a healthy spine that will help them keep their back and neck in good shape & avoid pain for life.
In the present era, most people suffer from back pain quite often. What to say of the agonies that this kind of pain brings? It even impairs the quality of life as well. Not only are you forced to keep off work and social activities, but also prevented from being able to carry out even simple, day-to-day routine tasks.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), low back pain in fact is the foremost cause of job-related disability. (Source)
Taking care of your spine now (that is, your neck & back) will help you lower the risks of suffering from back pain later in life.
You can improve the overall health of your spine by taking many steps that just involve practicing better body posture or how you hold and move yourself, while performing everyday tasks and activities.
How To Keep A Healthy Spine For Life – Tips & Guidelines!
Here are important tips that you should follow to keep your spine in good shape & health:
Lift Right – How To Pick Up Things In the Right Way?
Lifting an object using bad technique & incorrect form exposes you to the risks of twisting your body in a wrong manner and is likely damage your spine. According to Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the correct way to lift an object is as follows:
Stand as close to the object as possible. Then kneel or squat down, and use your legs and knees to lift up the item. Don’t lift from a standing position with your waist bent or your knees locked. Make sure to tighten your core muscle, including the muscles in your abdomen, and try to maintain the natural curve in your lower back. Always, use your leg muscles (never your back) to lift the object. Don’t twist while lifting.
Sleep Right – Correct Sleeping Position!
Sleeping well is important for your spine & overall health. A good night’s sleep helps rejuvenate your spine & body.
Avoid sleeping on the stomach because it puts too much pressure on your spine. Sleeping on your side or back is helpful for back pain.
As per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, use a supportive, relatively firm mattress as well as a supportive pillow that provides proper alignment to your head, neck, and shoulders. Try to turn your mattress regularly so that it wears outs evenly.
When sleeping on your side, consider keeping a relatively flat pillow between your legs to keep your spine straight & aligned. And when you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees for better support for your spine.
Stretch Out – To Maintain the Health Of Your Spine
I always tell my clients that stretching is very important to keep their back and neck flexible & healthy. Keeping them flexible ensures that your joints function normally and have good range of motion. It also decreases the chance of injury. Try to start your day with a few good stretches. They are not only rejuvenating but also help keep your spinal health in top gear.
Stay Active To Increase Spine Strength
As per NINDS, people who are not active or physically fit have an increased risk of suffering from low back pain. You need to stay active and keep your body moving – whether by walking, cycling, playing with the kids, exercising at the gym, or at home – in order to help maintain a healthy spine.
The best exercise routine for a healthy, strong back and neck is one that includes stretching, strengthening workouts, and aerobic activity.
Maintain A Healthy Weight For a Healthy Spine
A healthy diet (along with exercise) helps lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Being obese or overweight or rapidly gaining a substantial amount of weight are well-known risk factors for developing low back pain. Being overweight, especially if you have belly fat, puts added strain on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the lower back – leading to low back pain.
Stay Hydrated (Are you surprised what hydration is to do with your Spine?)
You may be surprised, but it’s true – “water is vital for your spine health.” Discs that sit between each bone cushion the bones in your spine. They work like little shock absorbers to help us bend, flex and move without wear and tear of the spinal bones.
Think of the discs as jelly doughnuts. They consist of a tough exterior with a squishy, jelly-like substance inside. Every single time you move your body during the day, the discs between your spinal bones are compressed, squeezing out some of the water from them.
When you aren’t hydrated enough, your disks are susceptible to shrinking. As spinal disks lose height, you become more vulnerable to painful disk conditions. Herniated disks, also called ruptured or slipped disks, happen when the loss of water causes the disks to become brittle and, over time, slip out of place.
The water in our spinal discs must be restocked often, which can be done by drinking enough water! Remember, your body will prioritize water and ensure your internal organs get enough to function properly. The spinal discs are going to be in some of the last structures to get water, so making sure you’re well-hydrated all the time is critical to keep the discs flexible and supple.
Ergonomic Smart / Work Smart
With proper ergonomics, you can prevent spine injury, reduce the risks of spine degeneration, and lead a pain-free life. The most common cause of poor spine health & back pain is repetitive stress on both the lower and upper back that we are subject to because of poor ergonomics or bad posture — whether at home, work, or play.
Ergonomics helps you understand how you move, how you interact with your workspace and environments, and how you can function efficiently with the least strain on your body (including the spine).
Set up your workplace according to your height – whether computer desk or laptop. Choose a chair with proper lower back support, or place a rolled-up towel or pillow behind the small of your back. Adjust the height of the chair so that your knees are at about the same level as your hips (knees bent at 90 degrees), with your feet resting comfortably on the floor.
Never cradle your phone between your ear and shoulder. Remember to hold the phone near to your ear or use a headset so as to avoid neck pain.
Take regular breaks – get up often and walk around the office or home. Your back muscles will tighten up & become stiff if you stay in one position for too long.
Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
Pay attention to pain or spinal problem when they occur. Though it may be common to have back pain once in a while, it can be due to a more serious problem. If left untreated, problems with your spine can deteriorate and become quite serious medical issues. Listen to what your body is telling you. Never overdo it at the gym or at work, or self-medicate to treat symptoms. Seek medical care to learn about your spine problems and take the appropriate treatment for your symptoms.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Health Coach. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”