Enhancing Spine Health: What Helps and What Hurts?
When you think about your body’s major operating system, you probably think about your brain being in control of all the main functions. While that is true in part, there is more to the way your body works than just your mind giving commands to the rest of your systems.
Did you know that your spinal cord is a major part of the central nervous system? It works together with the brain to ensure that everything is working in the way that it’s supposed to. If your spine isn’t healthy, there are problems that can occur with communication. That is why it is essential to take care of it. Find out more about what you can do to keep your spine healthy and what you may be doing right now that could be hurting you.
Eating the Right Food for Spine Health
You want to know how to keep a healthy spine for life, so you need to follow the proper ways of living to ensure that happens. One of the ways that you can keep your spine healthy is by making sure that you are following the proper diet plan. You know that you should eat healthy in order to maintain a good weight and keep your organs functioning properly, but it is also important for spine health. There are foods that you can include that help, and foods that you should exclude that can cause more harm.
The main idea behind a healthy spine diet is eating foods that will help with bone strength and reduce inflammation. Some of the best choices include:
- Plant-based proteins (lentils, beans, nuts)
- Omega-3 fats (salmon, flaxseeds, seaweed)
- Omega-9 fatty acids (olive oil, avocados, sesame oil)
- Green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli)
- Complex carbs (oatmeal, whole grain bread)
- Calcium (milk, cheese, yogurt)
If you are eating processed foods, lots of sugars and unhealthy fats, or deep-fried and greasy foods most of the time, you need to switch to fresher, more natural options right away. It will be better for your spine as well as your overall well-being.
Healthy Spine Exercises to Try at Home
Just like with any other part of your body that you want to make stronger, you can also exercise your spine to build it up so that it stays healthy and operating correctly. These are ideal to do to help alleviate back pain after an injury as well because they are low-impact and are unlikely to cause any further damages.
- Abdominal bracing – contracting abdominal muscles to stabilize and stiffen the spine by lying on your back with knees bent about shoulder-width apart. Pick up your right knee and meet your right hand. Create resistance by pushing against the knee with your hand. Hold for a few seconds and then repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating for 20 reps.
- Bridge – strengthen buttocks, back, and hamstrings by lying on back with knees bent. Raise the hips in the air while keeping your shoulders on the floor and hold for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Hip Crossover Stretches – Lie on the floor with knees bent shoulder-width apart. Put your left ankle over your right knee and use your hands to pull your left knee to the right shoulder. Hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side and do three times from each side.
If you are someone that works out regularly and you are dealing with back pain, you need to listen to your body and not push yourself too far. Even though these are relatively safe exercises, you should consult with a professional before starting any physical routine if you are one of the 80% of individuals that suffer from back pain.
Spine Strengthening Exercises Yoga
Another option when it comes to spinal cord strengthening exercises is yoga. There are plenty of movements that range from beginner to more advanced making it fairly easy to find something that you are easily capable of doing. What many people enjoy about yoga is that it doesn’t take long and you can do start with simple poses and move to more advanced ones as you get stronger. Some of the most popular poses for spine strength include:
- Low cobra pose
- Snake pose
- Bridge pose
- Warrior I pose
- Half locust pose
You can learn more about doing yoga online, through exercise videos at home, or by visiting a gym and taking part in a class.
Spine Care Tips From Your Chiropractor
When it comes to knowing the most about spinal cord health, you need to be looking at your local chiropractor. They have the experience, knowledge, and training necessary to examine, adjust, and manipulate the spine so that it is in it’s most natural, ideal position for getting the best body functioning.
Chiropractic doctors are well aware that the spine is a major part of the central nervous system and that it has to be in the best position for the greatest functioning. When any vertebrae are out of alignment, it can lead to other problems with the rest of the body. With that misplaced vertebrae, information is interrupted and it can lead to issues like:
- Digestive problems
- Trouble sleeping
- Poor posture
- Problems focusing
- Ear infections
- And more
Beyond doing manual adjustments, you can also schedule appointments for chiropractic massage therapy. Chiropractic professionals can provide you with at-home exercises to try out to provide you with a healthier spine. They can also recommend diet plans to follow, supplements to take, and various relaxation techniques.
There are over 35 million people that visit chiropractors annually for various medical concerns. It’s a great, non-invasive way to treat existing conditions and prevent further ones from occurring. By strengthening your spine through chiropractic care, you can expect to be a lesser risk for injury and better body functioning for years to come.
Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his bachelor of science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998. He became passionate about being a chiropractor Juneau after his own experiences with hurried, unprofessional healthcare providers. The goal for Dr. Wells is to treat his patients with care and compassion while providing them with a better quality of life through his professional treatment.
- Back Pain Facts and Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 11, 2018, from American Chiropractic Association: https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics
- Chiropractic: In Depth. (2012, February). Retrieved August 29, 2018, from National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/chiropractic/introduction.htm
- Healthy Bones Matter. (2017, April 12). Retrieved November 13, 2018, from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/kids/healthy-bones
- Key Facts About the Chiropractic Profession. (n.d.). Retrieved August 7, 2018, from American Chiropractic Association: https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Why-Choose-Chiropractic/Key-Facts
- The Central Nervous System. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2018, from https://mcb.berkeley.edu/courses/mcb135e/central.html