Having a healthy spine is priceless. It’s one of our most valuable health assets yet we tend to use and abuse it. From poor posture to lifting heavy objects incorrectly, just because our spine is located in an area we rarely see, does not allow us to completely ignore its’ health. This amazing work of art is what gives our body form and function. Our spine is composed of 24 bones called vertebrae. Connecting these bones are ligaments and muscles helping form the spinal column. The spinal column is what holds and protects the spinal cord which is a bundle of nerves sending out signals to other parts of the body. Basically, our spine is an instrumental part of our body.
If our spine is not healthy, life is not good. Anyone who has or is suffering from a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or strained back muscles knows all too well the importance of practicing good spine heath. To achieve excellent spine health, do your spine and your overall health a favor by practicing the following tips showing it the respect it deserves:
- Establish a consistent exercise program
You don’t have to be a fitness buff, (unless that’s your goal) but indulge your spine by practicing some form of physical activity each day. Basic stretching and flexibility moves go a long way to strengthening the back leading to a supple spine. When you regularly exercise, it gets the juices flowing distributing nutrients into your spinal discs and soft tissues, speeding up the healing process and helps keep your discs, muscles, ligaments and joints healthy.
- Practice meditation
Many sufferers from chronic back pain can benefit from 15 minutes of daily meditation. Studies have shown that meditation is an effective tool for fighting back pain resulting in reduced use of opioids. Meditation can be as simple as sitting in a quiet room, closing your eyes and focusing on pleasant, relaxing thoughts making you feel relaxed, carefree, and happy.
- Be aware of your sitting posture
How many of us take note of our posture throughout the day? From our posture when we stand to how we sit in front of a computer, proper posture is vital to prevent damage to sensitive spinal nerve. Anyone spending long hours sitting at a job should take time to invest in an ergonomically aligned chair and desk to support the spine. Stand-up desks or sitting on an exercise ball are other options to consider that support good spine health. Everyone each day should get up every 30 minutes to stretch and walk around.
- Wear supportive shoes
What you wear on your feet affects the support of your spine. No matter if it’s a short walk from your car into a store or walking for exercise, good shoes are a must keeping the spine in alignment. When buying shoes, make sure the area of the shoe fits the back of your heels but not overly tight. Having a good fit in the heel prevents over pronation or supination which is too much rolling of the foot to the outside or inside.
- Get a massage
This may be the best solution to keeping our spine healthy. Getting a massage has a number of therapeutic benefits – they release stress, endorphins and encourage blood flow, all of which brings healing nutrients to the areas of the spine to keep it in tip top shape.
- Have a good pillow for sleeping
A supportive pillow for sleeping can make or break how you feel the next morning. You want a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. Depending on your favorite sleep position, will determine which pillow is best for you. If you sleep on your side, a thicker pillow is advised to ensure your neck and head are positioned in the middle of your shoulder. Even how tall you and the width of your shoulders make a different in the pillow you should be using.
- Sleep tight right
Besides having the right pillow, sleeping well is also important to good spine health. The best sleep position is to sleep on your side instead of your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach puts too much pressure on your spine. Sleeping on your side reduces upper airway collapse, helping to prevent sleep apnea symptoms and gives you a better night’s sleep. Invest in a supportive mattress and be sure to turn your mattress regularly so that it wears evenly.
- Consider water aerobics
Exercising in warm water is perfect for you spine as it not only is soothing on joints but it reduces the stress of gravity allowing the buoyancy of water to support your spine. This can lessen the risk of injury or pain during certain exercise. Plus the viscosity of water creates gentle resistance by means of friction.
- Use proper lifting techniques
Attempts at lifting heavy items need to be done carefully and correctly to prevent a spinal or back injury. When heavy items are lifted incorrectly, the lower back muscles are put into abnormal positions that could lead to painful muscle strains.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.