We only get one body and we only get one shot at life, which means that we absolutely need to make sure that we take as good a care of ourselves as we can. There are a variety of ways that you can do this. Regular exercise, good quality sleep and of course, making sure that you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Whilst it is important to make sure that you take care of your body as a whole, there is one particular area that really needs to be protected and looked after at all costs. The spine. Your spine forms a vital part of the make-up of your body and if your spine is not looked after, then you are likely to feel the impact of this throughout the rest of your body.
Below are some top spinal health tips to help you take care of your back and avoid potential medical issues.
Think about your seated posture
We typically spend so much time at work and working, that it makes sense that we need to make sure that we consider the ergonomics when we are seated at work. In general, your feet should always touch the floor (or be supported if they can’t reach). As well as this your knees and hips should be level.
You need to be able to have your monitor at arm’s length and it is important that you are able to adjust your chair to fit your body position.
Always consider your walking posture too
Posture is not only to be considered when sitting, it also has an impact when we walk too. If you find that you get back pain after a long walk, or even a not so long walk, then you need to think about your posture.
It is important to keep yourself as upright as possible when walking and you should avoid any form of slumping or leaning forward if possible.
Avoid neck strain when you use mobile devices
One of the biggest reasons that we seem to suffer with spinal issues in this modern world is due to our use of mobile devices. Of course, chances are that we are not about to stop texting or reading things on our phones, but there are things that we can do to make it better for our spines.
When it comes to using mobile devices, you need to sit up as much as you can and ideally, you need to keep your device at chest (or eye) level, which will decrease the amount of stress that is placed on your neck and your back.
Choose supportive footwear
It doesn’t matter if you are walking around just to get around, or you are walking around to exercise, you need to make sure that you wear the right shoes. Your shoes are one of the foundations, one of the supportive bases that will ensure that your body is aligned and that your spine is kept supported.
It goes without saying that shoes should fit well; they shouldn’t be too big or too tight. They should just be able to feel snug and offer support to the feet.
Eat a balanced diet
You might not realise it, but what you eat can have an impact on the health of your spine. A balanced diet will mean that your body is going to be getting all the nutrients that it needs to be healthy and it will also help to avoid excess weight gain, which can put extra pressure on the spine.
Practice core exercises
The spine is surrounded and supported by a wealth of muscles, often known as the core muscles. These muscles are in the lower back and abdomen and if they are strong and supple, they are going to take some of the pressure off the spine and promote good back health.
Book in for massages
Massages are not only good for stress relief and relaxation; but they are also great if you are struggling with spine pain. A massage is going to release endorphins, which is your body’s natural painkiller and will have you feeling great inside and out.
You might think that being active could increase the likelihood of damage to the spine and yes, it is true that certain physical pursuits can be considered as high risk for causing spinal cord injuries.
But the truth is that staying active is actually something that will really help you to strengthen your back and keep you protected. It is important to exercise 3 times a week and make those sessions at least 30 minutes each.
Not only do you need to perform some type of exercise, but during your everyday tasks it is important that you are as active as you can be. You should also change positions as much as you can; if you are standing, then sit down, if you are sitting then take a moment to stand up.
Sleep in a supportive bed
Heading to your bed at the end of the day is not only your chance to get some sleep and rest your mind, but it is also your body’s chance to rest too. When you are lying down, your spine will need to be supported and comfortable. This means that it’s important to choose a good quality mattress that offers support as well as good quality pillows too.
Consider your lifting technique
When lifting things, it is vitally important to try and use the correct lifting technique to avoid damaging the spine. The first thing to do is to always estimate what the weight of the thing is that you are lifting, perhaps giving it a small push with your foot to see before you lift.
You need to keep a wide stance an always bend from the legs (never from the waist). Whilst you are carrying you should always keep the load as close to your body as possible and you should never twist your back.