Maintaining a healthy spine just makes sense. It is, after all, the main support structure of the body. If it becomes damaged, not only is your ability to move compromised, the information superhighway of the body is slowed or even closed down. The spine carries nerve signals that allow you to stand, sit, lie down, and move. If it is damaged, those signals don’t get through or are inhibited by pain. Prevention is the best form of cure.
Restorative Rest for a Healthy Spine
Sleep is a time your body uses to rejuvenate the structures that have worked hard all day supporting and moving you around. The proper support and position are important to getting a good night’s sleep, and also to keeping your spine healthy and able to do its job. Choose a mattress and pillows that support you in a comfortable position, without sagging. Talk to your doctor about which type of mattress and sleeping position is best for you.
Exercise at the Core
Your “core muscles”- the lower back and abdominal muscles- support the spine. Even the lower abdominal muscles have a part to play. Talk to your doctor about special exercises that target the core muscles and help strengthen the spine’s support system. This is especially important in women who’ve given birth, as pregnancy can stretch and weaken the abdominal core muscles. By following a simple routine of 20-30 minute exercises daily, you can strengthen your core and give your spine better support.
Walk a Mile in the Right Shoes
Walking is excellent exercise, and we all do a lot of it in our everyday lives. Unfortunately, many of us choose the wrong shoes. Good supportive shoes are comfortable and provide a good base for keeping the spine in proper alignment when you’re walking or standing. You may need to consider orthotic inserts to properly support your back.
Sit Up Straight
Choosing the right office chair and practicing good posture while seated are a start. Avoid leaning forward or slouching, as this puts an additional strain on the lumbar region of the back. Get up and walk around at least once every 20 to 30 minutes, to relieve the pressure that sitting puts on the lower vertebrae, and consider using a standing desk for at least part of the day.
You only get one spine. Take good care of it, and it will take good care of you.