Did you know that low back pain accounts for more than four million years lived with disability in the United States, and that number continues to grow? Whether you’ve lost time to low back pain, neck pain, or pain anywhere else along your spine, you understand the benefits of keeping your spine as healthy as possible.
As spine health experts, Dr. Sachida Manocha and the team here at Interventional Pain Center know that a healthy spine can save you from years of pain and discomfort due to back pain or neck pain.
Since we’re entering a new year, we thought we’d spend some time reviewing a few simple ways in which you can promote better spine health.
Your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae and 23 intervertebral discs, and they provide foundational support for your body. However, they hardly work alone. There are powerful muscles that surround your spine and, when they’re strong, your spine is far better supported.
Some great spine exercises include planks, bird dogs, and curl-ups, and you can read more about them here.
You spend many hours sleeping each day, so your spine should be well-supported when you’re lying down. You need a mattress that offers medium firmness, which means that it’s not so soft that your spine sags, and it’s not so hard that you’re uncomfortable.
In addition to the right mattress, you should sleep on your back or your side, but not on your stomach. You should also ensure that your pillow doesn't wrench your head up. Instead, it should keep your back and neck in a straight line.
Whether you’re sitting or standing, play close attention to your posture at all times. Slouching in a chair, hunching over a phone, or allowing your shoulders to come forward are all very bad positions for your spine.
Instead, keep your shoulders back, your head up, and your spine as aligned as possible. And, when you’re seated, try to keep both feet on the floor.
They say sitting is the new smoking, and we’re pretty sure your spine agrees. If, like many of us, you spend hours in a seated position, you need to get up at least every hour or so to move around. You can set a timer on your watch or phone to remind you.
As much as building strength in the muscles that surround your spine is important, so, too, is ensuring that these muscles are loose and flexible. Tight muscles in your back and/or neck can be very uncomfortable, so you want to do what you can to keep them supple.
Touching your toes or swinging your arms from side to side are great ways to limber up your muscles. An ideal time to stretch is during breaks from sitting. Each hour, we suggest that you get up, stretch, and go for a small walk.
Of course, there are many other steps you can take to promote spine health, such as losing weight and quitting smoking, but we promised easier steps in this blog.
If you’d like a more personalized plan for keeping your spine healthy and happy this year and beyond, please book an appointment online or over the phone with Interventional Pain Center. We have offices in Worthington and Newark, Ohio.