At our chiropractic and shockwave clinic in Tunbridge Wells, we know only too well that good spinal health is important. While people often worry about other aches and pains and various health conditions, they generally take this amazing and important structure for granted.
It’s only when something goes wrong, like an issue with lower back pain, a neck problem or sciatica that we realise what kind of role the spine actually pays.
People have a lot more problems with their backs now than at any other time in history. That may be down to a lot of factors, not least our more sedentary lifestyles and, in some cases, poor diet. Looking after your spine is pretty important, however, and it’s something we’re experts in here in our chiropractor clinic.
Our chiropractic and osteopathy team got together recently to produce our list of top six ways to maintain spinal health.
These steps are simple and should ensure that you have a healthy back, neck and joints well into older age.
If you do have a problem, such as acute or chronic back pain, you can always come and see us at our Tunbridge Wells clinic. We use a range of treatments including shockwave therapy to help our patients.
1. Improve Your Posture
Posture is something that we can all get into bad habits with over time. If you spend your day hunched over a desk at work, it’s pretty easy to end up putting pressure on your spine. There are quick and easy things you can do, however:
- Avoid slouching in your chair and sit up straight.
- Use core and buttock strengthening exercises and make a conscious effort to stop your bum sticking out as this can put pressure on your spine.
- Rounded shoulders are another issue that we often see in our chiropractic clinic. This problem can be remedied by doing some strengthening exercise for the upper back and shoulders.
- Standing more on one leg than the other is also another common problem that we see in many people. It can be easy to get into this habit but distributing the weight evenly between both legs is much better for your back.
There’s a lot you can do to improve posture. Most of the time it’s being aware that there is an issue and incorporating remedies into your lifestyle. It can be something as simple as sitting up straight or pushing back the shoulders when you are walking along.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is good for lots of different health reasons. The trouble is that many of us don’t get a great night’s sleep at all. Either it’s stress preventing us from drop off properly or it’s the mattress we’re lying on. Where you sleep is obviously important when it comes to spinal health.
There are lots of different mattresses on the market nowadays and it can be challenging to find the right one for your body. When selecting a new one, it’s important to do your research and add a sceptical pinch of salt when companies make bold claims. Ideally, you want a mattress that supports your body comfortably during sleep.
A good night’s sleep has other benefits too. It helps us repair the body and means we wake up feeling healthier and more refreshed.
3. Pay Attention to Diet and Exercise
What food we eat and the amount we exercise is also important for spinal health. If you are carrying extra weight, for instance, things like belly fat can put pressure on your lower back and cause issues over time.
Unhealthy choices also decrease blood flow and cause other problems that have a direct influence on the spine.
We all know that exercise is important. You should try to do a little each day to help improve function and mobility. Getting your heart rate up and sweating a little means that blood flow is increased, supplying oxygen and lifting energy in vital areas of the body, including the spinal cord. We often think of the spine as a bony structure but it has a huge blood supply too.
Exercise, as we know at our chiropractic clinic, doesn’t have to be intensive. A quick walk around the park with the dog or a few stretches bends and squats here and there can make a difference. It’s easier than you think to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Changing food habits can be a lot more difficult. Try to avoid overly processed food and get plenty of fruit and vegetables into your diet. Don’t overeat or drink too much alcohol.
4. Cut Out Smoking
We all know the dangers of smoking and most smokers actually want to quit. Heavy smoking can damage the spine in a variety of ways, reducing the amount of blood flow and weakening the bones. If you want to maintain good spinal health, it’s a good habit to get rid of.
5. Lift Heavy Objects Properly
It’s not only lifestyle choices that can affect spinal health. How we use this important structure is just as vital. We often see patients at our Tunbridge Wells chiropractic and osteopathy clinic who have damaged their backs lifting heavy objects.
You should be careful when lifting any weight off the floor or moving it from one location to another. The correct lifting technique is vital. Bend at the knees and keep a straight back. Don’t twist the spine to move the load from one location to another.
If something is too heavy, get someone to help you!
6. Manage Your Stress Levels
Finally, one lesser-known problem that has an impact on spinal health are stress levels. If you have plenty of stress in your life, either from work or home, it can have a huge impact on all aspects of your life. When you’re stressed out, for example, your breathing changes and that can cause strain and tension in your mid-back. You sleep less and don’t eat properly and drink too much.
Stress means that we take less care of ourselves, are likely to slouch more and take less exercise. There are plenty of ways to manage stress, fortunately.
If you have a back problem or issues with your spinal health contact the Tunbridge Wells Chiropractic and Shockwave Clinic today.
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