Most Americans, at some point in their lives, suffer from neck and back pain. Spine care and awareness of the way we move through our days, the way we lift and use our bodies, can go a long way in preventing damage to the major bundle of nerves, bones, and structures that make up our spine.
Why is Spine Care Important?
Our spine allows us to move, supports the body, and protects the spinal cord which controls every part of our body’s motion and functioning. Damage to the structure of the spine results in a severe restriction in our ability to move easily and may impact vital functions like breathing.
Watch Your Weight
Obesity can put a serious strain on the back and neck. While the size of your body is, in part, related to genetics, diet and exercise also play a role. Talk to your doctor about healthy choices. Consider developing a regular fitness routine. Walking and swimming are examples of low-impact exercises that nearly everyone can participate in. Talk to your doctor about a fitness routine that might be right for your specific situation and ability level.
A Healthier Home
Bending and stretching can put a strain on your spine. Consider rearranging your kitchen so that your most-often used tools and utensils are within easy reach. Do the same for each room in your home. Use extendable dusters and other tools with longer handles to accomplish cleaning tasks without the need to bend and stretch as often. While bending and stretching may be good exercise, repetitive and extended periods bending over can be hard on your spine.
Practice Good Posture
Although your mother’s warnings to “sit up straight” may have been annoying as a child, good posture is good for your back. Choose chairs with good lumbar support, and avoid slouching or leaning for extended periods of time. If you must lift and carry heavy loads, be careful to distribute the weight evenly across the shoulders and choose a backpack or carrier with a wide strap to help spread out the weight. Taking good care of your back now can prevent chronic pain and problems down the road.