If you're an able-bodied, mobile, and relatively healthy adult, you probably don't think about spinal problems very much in your day-to-day life. Our spine is, in a very real sense, the load-bearing support beam for our body. It holds us upright and allows us to stand and move.
Why Does Spine Health Matter?
Spine health is connected to the well-being of many different internal organs, systems, and processes. Spinal injuries can have devastating consequences, such as paralysis or even death. The spine is also part of our central nervous system; damage to any part of that system can wreak havoc on the rest of the body.
“A healthy spine is an often overlooked and essential part of a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr. Jeremy Hayes, D.C. Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Center of Flossmoor. “Every day, millions of Americans suffer from misalignments in their spine that if left untreated, can lead to pain, health challenges and disease.”
Your brain and central nervous system control all bodily functions and activities. Your brain sends signals out through your central nervous system to different organs and muscles throughout your body. Your central nervous system then sends information from nerves and senses back to your brain in a continuous feedback loop.
When your body is healthy, this system self-regulates and keeps you healthy. However, when a vertebral misalignment interferes with this process, it impairs your brain’s ability to communicate with various parts of your body, which can cause systems to start breaking down.
How to Keep Your Spine Healthy？
Don't sit for longer than necessacy: The discs in your lower spine receive 3x as much pressure when you sit versus when you stand. Yet Americans are spending more and more time sitting throughout the day. Take breaks to stand, walk, and stretch your legs. If you work a desk job, consider switching to a standing desk or an ergonomic office chair.
Pay attention to ergonomics: The ergonomics of how you sit and stand are just as important as how much time you spend doing each. Standing for half your day can still cause damage to your spine if you’re standing with poor posture. Make sure your office workstation is set up ergonomically, and use correct posture.
Exercise regularly: Your spine supports your body, but it also needs some support. Toned back and abdominal muscles -- often referred to as "core" muscles -- provide the necessary support for your spine. However, modern life makes it easy for these muscles to become weak and loose. Staying fit and toned will also help you stand with better posture and prevent obesity, which can lead to spinal problems.
Protects the spine while sleeping. If you've ever woken up with a stiff neck or a sore back, you already know how your sleeping position can affect your spinal health. Lifestyle factors such as sleeping position are leading causes of back and spine problems.