Let’s talk back pain real quick and simple… The pain is the result of something, not the cause. It could be caused by a car accident, poor posture, lifting wrong, bad sleeping position or just the overall accumulation of wear and tear to the spine. These are all examples of activities or habits that can gradually or suddenly create misalignments in the spine. When the spine is misaligned it loses the ability to move smoothly and often pinches on nerves. It also creates more stress on the discs in between the vertebrae. As time goes on and they lose their proper position, good movement and tension on the nerves pain or symptoms of some sort are inevitable.
Taking care of your spine and body requires some work. But if you will be proactive you’ll save yourself a lot of grief and pain over the long haul. The 3 Keys are 1- Flexibility 2- Strength 3- Alignment
Flexibility affects your range of motion. If a joint cannot go through its full range of motion then it will lose the ability to move through the entire range. Stiffness then settles in and then your movements become altered. Imagine squatting down to lift a box with hips that can’t squat all the way or a stiffened low back- this changes where the lifting force is felt and makes you more likely for injuries. A simple stretching routine or yoga if done regularly are the first part of preventing back injuries.
Strength and stability of the spinal and core muscles are important to give support to the vertebrae and the discs to protect them against injury or herniation. Simple core exercises include plank position and variations of plank. Cross-crawl exercises and thera-band exercises for the spinal muscles. The average person will see big benefits in doing these for 15 minutes 3x a week.
Alignment affects everything from movement of the joints, protection of the discs and health of the nerves. Misalignment is inevitable as we go throughout life carrying kids, falling asleep on the couch, rigors of travel or driving, sports, accidents, etc, etc. Spinal alignment needs to be attended to on a regular basis to prevent pain and injury. This will assure pressure is staying off the nerves and protecting the discs by allowing them to stay hydrated so they don’t dry out, thus leading to decay and degeneration.
These are 3 Simple Tips that can help you stay more active and take better care of your body as the years go on. All 3 need to be part of your regular routine to ensure a health and wellness lifestyle so you’re not always reacting to the body’s pain signals, but preventing them instead!
Ryan Browning, DC