30 Tips for Better Spine Health - Part 1

  1. Exercise Regularly: Spinal tissue repair and remodeling is influenced by the stresses placed upon them. Regular exercise and strengthening activities will promote a healthier, stronger and more stable spine. Exercise does not have to be overly strenuous to achieve significant benefits. A regular activity such as a daily walk can make a huge difference. Start an exercise program slowly to give your muscles a chance to warm up and loosen. Check with your doctor prior to engaging in an exercise program. Increased abdominal strength will help protect the spine from injury as it supports the spine from in front just as the muscle of the back support the spine from behind.

  2. Eat Healthy: Proper nutrition will support spine development and repair. A proper diet will also help to strengthen spinal tissues thus reducing the risk for injury.

  3. Maintain Good Posture: Assume efficient and supportive postures while lying, sitting, and standing to reduce strain on spinal tissues, to reduce the risk for spine injury and to promote spine health.

  4. Invest in a Good Pillow and Mattress: The average individual spends approximately one third of life sleeping, therefore; proper support of the spine and head during this period will strongly influence spine health. A good pillow and mattress will also facilitate more restorative sleep. In some instances an individual may benefit by the use of more the one pillow. There are different types of pillows. When you sleep you do not have conscious control over your body position. A good mattress will support the spine no matter how many times one moves during the night.

  5. Maintain Spine Flexibility: Regular activity and stretching helps maintain flexibility of the spine; flexibility which is required to reduce the risk of injury.

  6. Balanced Carrying: Always attempt to carry items over 10 pounds in a balanced fashion, dispersing the weight as evenly as possible from right to left. Do not overload your luggage, backpack or purse.

  7. Take Periodic Breaks: Avoid sustained postures. During episodes of prolonged sitting or standing, periodically take a break, stretch your legs and back. Periodic stretching will help to keep you from tightening up and injuring the spine.

  8. Use Proper Phone Technique and Equipment: Avoid cradling the phone between the neck and the shoulder. Use a headset if prolonged phone use is required at home or at work which will allow you to maintain a neutral head and neck position.

  9. Sleep on Your Back or Side: These positions are generally more supportive of the spine than lying face down.

  10. Good Sleep Support: Sleeping on a supportive mattress. Do not sleep on your stomach. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to reduce rotation of the low back. If you sleep on your side, try to keep your legs bent at the knees and at the hips, a position which reduces the stress on the low back.

  11. Invest in Proper Shoes and Footwear: The average person takes approximately 5,000 – 8,000 steps during the course of a normal day. Proper foot and ankle support will reduce stress upon the knees and hips as well as the back.

  12. Invest in Good Chairs: Individuals spend the majority of their lives in a sitting position. Chairs greatly influence sitting posture. Poor chairs contribute to chronic spine problems; well- designed chairs promote spine health.

  13. Have Regular Spinal Check-Ups: It's much easier to prevent a problem than to correct one. See your local doctor of chiropractic regularly. Just as you would see your dentist to prevent tooth decay bi-annually; seeing your chiropractor can help to prevent spinal joint decay/degeneration.

  14. Use Proper Lifting Techniques: Proper lifting technique will reduce the risk for spine injury. Keep the back straight and bend the legs and hips when lifting; this reduces stress on the back. Avoid lifting objects higher than your waist whenever possible. Face the object you wish to lift. When lifting hold the objects close to the body. Do not twist while lifting. When possible push rather than pull an object which is easier on the back. Seek help lifting when necessary. Lift cautiously with moderate speed.

  15. Walk Efficiently: Walking requires the use of over 200 individual muscles. It requires the use of all muscles of the spine and pelvis. Walk erect with your head and neck in a neutral position. Avoiding slumping while walking. Avoid high heels and platform shoes. Avoid or reduce excessive back extension (swayback) during walking.