It surprises some that spine surgeons spend more time helping you avoid surgery than planning for it. As with many fields of medicine, conservative treatments are usually preferable to surgical solutions.
In fact, at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center, we promote spine health awareness with our patients since, ultimately, the best outcome for your spine is avoiding pain-causing injury in the first place. With this in mind, we’ve prepared this list of spine health hacks you can start doing today.
Maintain a healthy weight
One pound of body weight can place four or five pounds of force on your spine. Even modest amounts of weight gain cause stress throughout your body, particularly your spine, since its design depends on balance across its entire length. Secondarily, conditions and diseases related to weight gain can contribute to spine and supporting tissue deterioration.
Your body is made for motion. Staying active helps to keep natural healing cycles working. There’s no need to start expansive exercise routines if your lifestyle is sedentary. Adding 30 minutes of light to moderate activity, like walking, cycling, or swimming, five days a week helps to stimulate natural healing.
The floating environment of the swimming pool is a great stress reliever for your spine. You can build strength in a neutral-load environment without adding load and stress onto your back. Water therapy works well if you’re older or already have some spine pain that limits dry-ground exercise.
Do you sit for long hours at work or doing a hobby? Perhaps your job requires extended time on your feet. Your body needs variety when it comes to motion. Building position changes into your day keeps your spine healthy. If you’re most often sitting, add standing up every 30 minutes or so, just for a minute or two. Consider a standing desk or use a workout ball as a chair to engage your core muscles as spine stabilizers. When your primary position is standing, sit down on a similar schedule.
Exercise that targets spine flexibility and support tissue strength may be a touch of elite-level training to help you avoid back pain. Even simple stretches in the morning can prepare your spine for the rigors of the day. Morning stretches can also jump-start other systems in your body.
Along with all the other reasons for giving up tobacco, eliminating the vasoconstriction caused by nicotine boosts your spinal health. Nicotine restricts blood flow, limiting nutrients and oxygen to spinal tissue. You may experience more inflammation and increased spinal deterioration.
Using your spine to raise heavy loads, a major source of back injury, can rupture spinal discs and damage other tissue, potentially causing arthritis or spinal stenosis. Use your legs to provide vertical motion, not a spine rotation.
When your best efforts fall short, and back pain happens, contact us at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center in Scottsdale and Tucson. We’ll help you return to pain-free living. Call or click to book your consultation today.