Your spine consists of a complex set of nerves, ligaments, and muscles that are used to connect different parts of your body. It’s important to keep your spine healthy so that you minimize pain and discomfort in your back and overall body. Here four ways you can keep your spine healthy:
Sleep allows your body to fully rest after a long day of working and keeping you, literally, on your feet. We have talked about why it’s important to have the right mattress (link to blog) and pillow (link to blog) to align your spine while you sleep, but we often scrimp on the amount of shut-eye we get. Sleep is essential for a healthy spine. Try to aim for 8 hours per night.
Put your best shoe forward.
Good shoes not only protect your feet, but they provide a supportive structural base to help your body and back maintain proper alignment. Make sure you wear the proper shoe for your activity. Don’t exercise or even go for a long walk with shoes that don’t give you proper support. Consider using inserts to provide balance and help you avoid muscle strain. This will help you keep your spine aligned.
Sit up straight.
Did you know that the discs in your lower spine have three times the pressure on them while you are sitting than standing? Long periods of sitting can cause or aggravate an existing painful back condition. Those that sit in a chair for work will more than likely end up slouching over the desk or leaning forward with poor posture. This will lead muscle tension and pain in the lower back or even strain between the shoulders and the neck. If you spend the majority of your day at a desk, sit in a chair that supports the natural curve of your back to encourage proper posture. Don’t forget to take breaks to walk and stretch every 20 to 30 minutes.
Just crunch it.
The easiest – and cheapest – thing you can do to keep your spine healthy is keep your abdominal and back muscles strong. Daily activities don’t work these muscles as much exercises specifically for these muscles such as crunches, planks and other exercises. By maintaining these muscles, they will help support your spine and reduce your risk for injury.