Preventive Spine Care

The spine consists of 33 bones called vertebrae. These vertebral bones are stacked on top of each other with intervertebral discs in between the vertebrae. The joints between each vertebrae and at three distinct points and are known as facet joints. This arrangement of joints are what allow you to bend and twist. The spinal cord, runs through a canal made by the vertebrae known as spinal canal. From the spinal cord, nerves emerge and supply various parts of the body.

The intervertebral discs are a cushioning substance held in place by the ligaments connecting the spinal bones and the surrounding muscles. They are what render flexibility, movement and shock absorption to the spinal column. When spine health is subpar, one of the early signs is pain. It should be taken as warning sign and appropriate action must be taken.

Why do spine problems occur?

In most cases, the possible reasons for a person developing spine pain or injury is heavy lifting, twisting and bending. This harms the intervertebral discs, vertebrae and facet joints. This can result in and also result in poor blood flow and degenerative changes to the spine.

The risks of developing spinal problems, detrimental to health and wellbeing increases with old age, lack of exercise, strenuous occupations and obesity.

When it comes to the health of your spine, it is better to be proactive than reactive. Here are some measures to prevent spinal diseases:

Maintain good posture:

Try to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, even while at work. Change positions frequently or stand up and go for a short brisk walk. Do not slouch, choose ergonomic chairs to help encourage better posture.

Stay fit and maintain healthy body weight:

It is beneficial to try and maintain good physical fitness and flexibility. Strengthen your core, arms and legs through exercises like pilates and yoga. This can also help you maintain a good bodyweight and reduce the strain on your back and spine.

Avoid heavy lifting:

Do not lift objects that are too heavy for you. Movements like bending and twisting increase the load on your discs and should be avoided when possible. If you must lift heavy objects use good body mechanics and avoid jerky movements.

Find good sleeping posture:

Many people take sleeping posture for granted, but it is absolutely vital to your disc health. A simple tweak is to swap your old mattress with one with adequate firmness for spine support.

Additionally, if you are a back sleeper, try placing a pillow beneath the knees to reduce stress on the lower back. If you are a side sleeper, place a pillow between your knees to balance your hips. Experiment and find what is most comfortable for you.

Eat nutritiously:

Research suggests that eating nutritious foods can support spine health. Ensure that you include the following foods in your diet to maintain good spine health:

Try to incorporate plant based proteins into your diet, these proteins offer benefits that you don’t get from animal products. Get your protein from foods like chia seeds, lentils, and beans, apart from protein these supply you with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals as well.

Eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, they contain properties that will help fight spinal issues. Pick vegetables and fruits that have strong natural pigments. For example vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach and fruits like berries. These help reduce inflammation and are packed with nutrients that support spine health.

Include herbs and spices that are great for promoting spinal health and help fight inflammation. Some examples are turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, and ginger. Add them to food throughout the day or brew herbal teas with these spices and herbs.

Incorporate foods that contain good fats like avocados, olive oil, seafood and oily fishes like salmon, mackerel in to your diet. They contain nutrients that improve spine health and blood flow.

Have calcium rich foods such as dairy, cheese and leafy green vegetables. Calcium is absolutely essential for the health of your vertebra and intervertebral discs. Talk to your doctor about calcium supplements.

Drink plenty of water to restore the volume of your intervertebral disc, this helps them to function optimally. In order for your discs to remain healthy, you have to replenish their water content.

Through mindful eating and active lifestyle you can tackle spine and disc problems before they emerge. If you have a sudden exacerbation in back pain, consult a doctor and seek appropriate help.



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