A healthy spine can help you maintain a high quality of life even in ripe, old age. Your spine is vitally important for maintaining mobility and ensuring you can keep doing what you love. Not only this, but a weak spine can also result in conditions that cause significant pain and a range of other symptoms.
In this article, we will discuss how to strengthen your spine to avoid spinal disease, ensuring you remain active, even in later life.
What are the most common forms of Spine Diseases?
Spine diseases and conditions can include:
- Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
- Herniated Discs
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Spinal Deformities
- Spinal Tumors
- And more…
What are the main symptoms of Spine Disease?
Common symptoms that are a result of spine disease or a spinal condition are:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Pain in the buttocks or upper leg
- Weakness, numbness, or a tingling sensation in the feet
- Bladder or bowel dysfunction
- Stiffness or tightness in the back
What can I do if I develop a Spinal Disease?
If you develop spine disease then your doctor will prescribe painkillers and advise on a range of treatments to help reduce the symptoms and improve mobility. Treatments such as gentle exercise, physical therapy, a better diet, water therapy, stretching, etc, have all been clinically proven to help with spinal conditions and diseases.
However, if you have undergone several treatments for a number of weeks and there has been no noticeable change, then your doctor may recommend surgery to help cure the problem.
Spinal decompression, followed by spinal fusion is the most common procedure for back pain, however, this operation can result in a lack of mobility and further deterioration in adjacent vertebrae.
Our Top Ten Tips for a Healthier Spine
In this section, we will walk you through our ten top tips for maintaining a healthy spine so you can avoid conditions such as spondylolisthesis and lumbar spinal stenosis.
1- Keep your weight at a healthy level
Being even slightly overweight can apply additional stress to your spine, as well as result in diseases and other physical conditions that can impact your overall mobility and health. Eating sensibly and exercising regularly are two of the best ways you can maintain a healthy spine and avoid issues later in life.
It sounds very simple but people who do regular stretching and strengthening exercises keep their spine in a good condition. Targeted stretching exercises for the back only require a short amount of time each day and can help minimize any pain in your back.
3- Quit Smoking
Smoking is seriously bad for your spine, and your body overall. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it tightens your blood vessels and limits circulation around the body. This lack of circulation can result in the degradation of the spine and other parts of your anatomy. In addition, if you are suffering from back pain, nicotine can also increase inflammation.
4- Follow guidelines when heavy lifting
Heavy lifting can place significant strain on your back and if performed incorrectly it can cause an injury that results in lasting damage. Always use the correct technique when lifting heavy items. Keep your back straight, bend your knees, and use the power in your legs to lift.
5- Avoid Inflammatory Foods
There are a number of inflammatory foods that if avoided, can reduce pain levels, and help avoid putting on weight.
Foods to avoid are:
- Red Meat
- Processed Foods
- Refined Sugar
Instead, you should stick to foods that are low in calories and rich in antioxidants, such as plant-based foods.
Yoga is a fantastic activity to keep your body limber and improve muscle strength in your back. It is one of the best exercises you can do in terms of your spine and is often recommended by doctors for anyone who suffers from back-related issues.
For beginners, it is advised to not try to do too much, too quickly. Work with a professional instructor and start with some basic techniques, working your way to more advanced and challenging positions over time.
7- Be mobile whenever possible
Avoid sitting in the same position for too long. This is especially important if you work in an office. Try to take regular breaks and take a short walk, while also stretching regularly while working to flex your back.
8- Stand whenever you can
Following on from the above tip, sitting for long periods is not good for your spine so it is always recommended to stand whenever possible. Many modern offices have implemented standing desks for this very reason as they have been proven to maintain healthy spines.
This can even be applied at home, taking the time to stand and stretch regularly in between watching TV and playing video games.
9- Speak with a doctor or consultant
If you are concerned about your back and have been experiencing back pain for a number of weeks, then you should book a consultation with your doctor who can assess the situation and recommend the best course of action.
If you experience prolonged back pain, numbness, tingling sensation, and other symptoms in your back, buttocks, legs, and feet, then this could point towards a condition such as sciatica, spondylolisthesis, or lumbar spinal stenosis.
If this is the case, then your doctor can advise on a range of treatment options to prevent the condition from worsening and to help manage the pain.
10- Swimming and Water Therapy
Swimming is brilliant for the whole body but it can also help strengthen your back. Additionally, if you experience back trouble, water therapy is proven to help alleviate the symptoms, and is especially recommended for older people who struggle to continue their usual exercise routine.
Thank you for reading, we hope this article has provided you with some useful tips to help manage your back pain and strengthen your spine.