We talk about it every time you’re in for your adjustment. Your spinal health is integral in living a healthy full, dis-ease free life. Here’s a few tips from the Chiropractors Association of Australia for maintaining a healthy spine.
- Improve your posture with regular chiropractic adjustments, spinal stretching exercises and standing breaks if you have a desk job. Just thinking the word “Up” to yourself when you’re walking or standing, has been shown to improve posture by bringing the eyes back up to the horizon.
- Exercise – exercising regularly is important not just for health but also for the movements between the spinal joints. It allows pumping of the fluid around the discs between your vertebrae, and this fluid is what gives the discs nutrition and takes away waste materials.
- Take breaks from your mobile phone and laptop. We know we all have a social media addiction (you’re reading this via our Facebook page probably!) and it’s great to have that social connection. However too much of that forward head posture whilst staring at your screen puts an immense amount of pressure on the base of your skull and neck. We are the first generation that is experiencing “daily headaches” as a norm.
- Support your back when you carry things. Picking up and moving heavy items (including 2 year olds…) without supporting our backs can lead to strain and sprain on our lower back muscles, discs and joints. Bracing our core muscles and bending our knees (rather than our backs), can make moving and lifting items much safer.
- Sleep in the best position for your spine. And no. This is NEVER tummy sleeping! Talk to Megan and Matt about ideal sleeping posture – the height of your pillow when you’re lying on your side can greatly aid (or damage) your neck whilst side sleeping. We have specific pillows for sale at practise from ABCA Australia that can be adapted to any height and any shoulder width. With your neck neutral to your spine, you will find you get far less neck aches, headaches and shoulder problems. Often sleeping with a pillow between your knees or under your tummy can help too.
- Quit Smoking! Studies show that smokers experience back pain more frequently than non-smokers 1. This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen the body receives, which is needed to maintain healthy ligaments and muscles.
- Teach your kids about spinal health now. We’ve all seen how young kids start using technology these days. iPhone’s and iPad’s are a great distraction technique. However when you think about the fact that your child is also spending 9am-3pm at school sitting, looking down and writing, you realise they get almost as much stress on their spines as an adult. Teaching kids by example is important. Put the phones away at home, get out and play in the yard with them, show them that adults stretch regularly and move regularly. Hugo is a massive fan of my dancing whilst I cook him dinner! (No one else needs to see it…)
- Lead a healthy lifestyle. Steps to improve your spinal health work best when complemented by a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition, wellness, mental health, exercise and spinal health are all interrelated and connected, so improving your overall health will improve your spinal health too.
- Improve your core strength. We can’t emphasise this point enough. Your core is essential to protecting your back from sprain and strain. Matt does Crossfit with heavy weights to strengthen and maintain his core. Megan’s a big fan of Yoga – and we will be having a Yoga teacher in the practice soon to talk through some techniques for core control.
- Learn to take care of your spine from your local chiropractor. Yes, ok, we’ve made this point but it’s important. Keep up with your regular check ups. Keep up with your daily spinal hygiene stretches. Anyone who comes through our clinic has AMAZING access to the Wellness and Prevention website which is a treasure trove of information on not only stretching your spine but other important health tips too. USE US for the information we can impart to you! 7 degrees and counting between us… it’s not a bad source of information!
1. Scott, S.C. et al. (1999). The Association between cigarette smoking and back pain in Adults. Spine 24(11),1090-1099.