A healthy spine allows us to move freely in our lives and do fun things like run and jump and dance. Forgetting about spine health can lead to permanent injuries that prevent you from doing the things you love.
Seeing a chiropractor when you experience back or neck pain, like 35 million other people in the U.S. do, prevents issues before they happen. You can also get advice on how to care for your spine properly.
Learn how to keep your spine healthy with the 9 chiropractic care tips below.
1. Exercise Regularly
One of the best things you can do for spine health is to exercise regularly.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily. This means doing something within the moderate to intense range like brisk walking, jogging, swimming, mowing the lawn, aerobic dancing, strength training, or rock climbing.
Not only will this improve spinal health, but it also improves your health overall.
2. Work on Core Strength
Concentrate on strengthening your core muscles when exercising. Your core is made of more than just your abdominal muscles. It also includes those in your lower to middle back.
The stronger your core, the less pressure and strain you on your lower back and spine. Core strength also helps you maintain good posture and reduces back pain on the whole.
3. Pay Attention to Your Posture
Poor posture is a major contributor to chronic back problems and spinal issues. Sitting up straight while watching television, working at a desk, or sitting at the table for a meal can eliminate many back and neck issues.
It may feel strange or even hurt at first, but that’s because your body has become accustomed to slouching. You should also get up and stretch at least once an hour if you work at a desk. This will help you better maintain your posture.
4. Sleep Support
The quality of your mattress affects your spinal health as well as your ability to sleep. Be sure your mattress provides enough support that you do not wake up with pain in your neck or back.
If you have a good mattress but often wake up with neck pain, you may need a new pillow.
Listen to your body and sleep in its preferred position. Back sleepers should place a pillow under their knees to support their lower spine. Side-sleepers should place one between their knees to keep them properly aligned with their hips.
5. Wear Good Shoes
Just like your body needs support while you’re sleeping, your feet and spine need support while walking.
Good shoes give you a strong base to help keep your body and spine in alignment. Invest in a high-quality pair of shoes that fit correctly to keep your spine healthy.
6. Stand Properly
Standing all day long puts lots of strain on your lower back and spine. You can relieve this pressure by standing in certain positions rather than others.
Try standing with one foot slightly ahead of the other and keeping your knees bent. You can also shift your weight to your heels instead of your toes or from your left foot to your right foot.
Be sure you keep your head level so that your shoulders and earlobes align. Use those good core muscles and engage your abs to support your spine even more.
7. Reach and Bend with Care
Take care when reaching to get something from up high or bending to pick something up off the ground.
Do not overextend your back when reaching up to a high shelf. Use a sturdy stepladder or stool instead. Ask someone to take the object from you rather than trying to step down with it in your arms, especially if it’s heavy.
When picking up heavy objects off the floor, always bend with your knees and not your back. Try to keep your back straight and supported by engaging your core as you lift the object back up.
Never twist while picking up a heavy object and always ask for help if you need it.
8. Be Present When Using Technology
Try not to space out and start slouching or sitting in an uncomfortable position while on the computer or watching TV.
Bring your cell phone up to eye level when texting so you do not bend your head down and forward to see the screen.
Position screens so you can look at them without needing to move your neck back and forth. If you wear glasses, adjust them so you do not need to move your head to see clearly.
Place your feet on the ground when sitting in front of a screen and keep your knees lower than your hips. Avoid reaching in order to use the technological device.
Use a headset to talk on the phone hands-free rather than pinching the phone between your shoulder and your ear.
9. Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
Finally, if you start to feel a small pain in your back while doing an activity, STOP IMMEDIATELY! Listen to your body and try it again.
The same goes for persistent pain in your back or neck. Even a small, constant pain could indicate much bigger issues. Leaving a small pain untreated can turn it into something more serious.