Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Bob Salamon with Lowcountry Chiropractic. As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy! Welcome back to my blog, where I discuss anything and everything related to chiropractic care and healthy living! I aim to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your health. In my last post, we continued a discussion about the best foods for bone and joint health. Be sure to check out part one, as well! Today, we’ll be talking about how to take care of your spine. We get regular checkups for our overall health, and for our teeth, so why don’t we do the same for our spines? The spine is an important part of the human body, and it is vital to keep it in the best shape possible. If you are interested in learning more about the spine and ways you can take care of it, you’re in the right place! Let’s get started.
What is the spine?
To begin, let’s take a closer look at what the spine actually is. Also referred to as the backbone, the spine is your body’s central support structure. It connects different parts of the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of your bones and joints and helps you move. The spine helps you do many things that you probably don’t think much about on a daily basis: Sitting, standing, twisting, walking, and bending. A healthy spine has four natural curves that make an “S” shape. These curves are known as the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral curvature. Together, these natural curves absorb shock to your body and protect your spine from injury, while also helping you stay balanced and flexible.
Additionally, the spine is made up of a few different parts:
Approximately 80% of Americans experience back pain at some point, often due to an issue in the spine. Vertebrae and discs can age and wear down over time, which can cause pain. So how can you keep your spine functioning at its optimal best?
How can you care for your spine?
Just as we should keep other parts of our body in shape, we should do the same for our spine. Here are some ways that you can take care of your spine.
We have all heard about the importance of exercising to maintain our overall health. Exercise is also great for your back muscles and spine! Your core muscles, located in your lower back and abdomen, must be strong in order to support your spine. For most people, these core muscles are rarely used during everyday activities, and should be toned through targeted exercises. Strengthening these muscles can help manage or prevent back pain and improve range of motion. There are plenty of exercises out there, so if you are not sure which ones are appropriate for you, speak with your chiropractor, personal trainer, physical therapist, or other health professional. Some of the best exercises for strengthening your core muscles include using an exercise ball or a resistance band, but there are also exercises that can be done without any equipment.
2. Proper sleep posture
You may not realize it, but the position in which you sleep can do a number on your spine. Just as there is good posture when it comes to standing, there is good posture when it comes to sleep, too! (Check out my previous blog about sleep and chiropractic care!) When you lay down at the end of a long day, all of the structures that make up your spine finally have a chance to relax. An ideal sleeping position supports the natural curve of your neck and spine, keeping them in proper alignment. Some of the best sleeping postures include laying flat on your back, sleeping on your side, and the fetal position. The type of mattress you use can also play a role in your spine health. For example, firmer mattresses are best because they adequately support the spine, whereas old or soft mattresses can cause the spine to sag.
3. Eat a healthy diet
While a healthy diet is important for your overall health, it is also important for your bones, including your spine. Often, inflammation can cause back pain, and this inflammation can be due to certain foods. For example, processed meats, fried foods, foods high in sugar, and refined grains are known to increase inflammation. Additionally, these unhealthy foods can also contribute to weight gain, which can increase your risk of inflammation. Therefore, reducing your intake of these foods, or eliminating them completely, can help reduce or prevent inflammation. The good news is that there are plenty of healthy and anti-inflammatory foods out there that you can incorporate into your diet. For example, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish such as salmon or tuna, and fruits such as strawberries and oranges are all anti-inflammatory foods.
4. Wear the right shoes
Did you know that the shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your lower back? Your feet support the weight of your entire body and help keep your spine aligned properly. Shoes that offer inadequate support can cause vertebrae in the spine to become misaligned. Some shoes are more likely than others to cause back pain. For example, high heels place extreme pressure on the front of the foot, changing your posture and disrupting the natural curve of the spine. Additionally, flip flops lack the proper support for your feet and lower back, which affects the way your hips move. When shoe shopping, choose well-cushioned shoes with arch support. Ideally, ditching high heels is best. But if you cannot, opt for lower heels instead. It is also best to avoid tight-fitting shoes, as these can affect alignment and gait.
5. See a chiropractor
Seeing a chiropractor regularly is one of the best ways to take care of your spine! The body has an amazing natural ability to heal itself, and chiropractic care ensures that there are no interferences in that process. Chiropractic adjustments can remove any interferences, known as subluxations, so that the spine stays properly aligned and can function properly. If you visit a chiropractor regularly, routine adjustments can prevent other subluxations from occurring. Making an appointment with a chiropractor is just the first step towards a happy, healthy, and pain-free life!
These are just a few ways that you can take good care of your spine! If you have any further questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to us. As a chiropractor, I can also provide you with nutritional advice and other recommendations for lifestyle changes that can help you keep your spine functioning at its best. I hope you found this article informative. If you have any concerns about your bone health, consider reaching out to Lowcountry Chiropractic! We specialize in different chiropractic techniques, as well as both therapeutic and Swedish massage. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll assess the situation and develop a treatment plan to address your needs. We want to help you live a healthy and pain-free life– it’s what you deserve. As always, this is Dr. Bob and I have your back covered!
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