6 Habits That Might Be Harming Your Spine Health
In the modern world, adults are very conscientious about health and well-being. With a diverse group of programs to support healthy eating, fitness, and lifestyle, there is still one thing that is often forgotten—spine health! The health of your spine is essential to living an active, capable, comfortable life. Unfortunately, there are many ways to harm the health of your spine, many of which happen accidentally. If you’re interested in protecting your spine health to support your longevity and wellness, then read on to discover 6 habits that might be harming your spine health.
1. You’re exercising incorrectly.
Exercise is an activity that is commonly thought to be helpful and healing to the body. There are many different ways to exercise, and every individual has their own preferred method of getting in much-needed physical activity. For some, this may include aerobic exercises like walking, running, cycling, swimming, and rowing. Others may choose anaerobic exercises like weight lifting, circuit training, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), Pilates, and yoga. Irrespective of which kinds of exercise you choose, it’s imperative that you exercise correctly.
What is exercising correctly?
Exercising correctly requires mindfulness and attention to correct form, not pushing the body beyond its appropriate limits, and ensuring that stretching and warming up always take place before every single workout.
Unfortunately, injuries during workouts are incredibly commonplace. Injuries can occur at the onset of a workout, during the workout, and after the workout. These can range from sprain and strains of the muscles and tendons to muscle tears, knee and back injuries, and spinal subluxation.
Many of the injuries that occur during exercise aren’t considered “injuries.” You may push through the discomfort because you think it’s natural soreness, or because you assume it’s just a small event that will heal naturally. Oftentimes, people push through pain and discomfort (caused by injuries) because they don’t want to lose progress in their exercise routine.
2. You don’t stretch in the morning or before bed.
Did you know that it’s important to stretch any time your body is changing activities or preparing for a new movement or position? Stretching isn’t just for the muscles. It’s for the ligaments, joints, and tendons of your body, too! Stretching before bed to ensure your body is prepared to lay down for sleep can help prevent injury and ensure that your sleep is truly restorative.
Stretching when you awaken in the morning is also important. If you don’t stretch your body in the morning, your body is not given the best possible chance to engage with the world physically. Stretching in bed or first thing after rising allows your joints to return to the best possible alignment. Stretching helps to warm your muscles, lengthen your ligaments and tendons, and encourage the body to adapt to all kinds of movements and activities.
Whether you work in a sedentary office job, spend most of your time standing and moving, or are an athlete, stretching between activity changes is one of the most effective ways to support your body’s health.
3. You spend a lot of time sitting.
Sitting can be hard on the body. Sitting is not technically a natural position for the body’s optimal alignment of bones and joints—especially sitting in chairs. If you spend a lot of time sitting, consider investing in your sitting arrangement to ensure it’s as supportive as possible for your body. Some people thrive in an office environment using an exercise ball as a seat, or special chairs with a rocking base designed to utilize the body’s natural center of gravity for balance.
When you spend a lot of time sitting, it becomes more and more difficult for the body to hold an upright posture. Sitting pushes the gravity of the body off center, and because most people aren’t trained to redirect their posture and retain alignment in their spine, sitting can over force the spine out of alignment.
Sitting places pressure on joints of the spine and on the pelvis To compensate for this pressure, it’s normal for people to lean forward or hunch their shoulders. Unfortunately, this counter-balancing strategy makes sitting harmful over prolonged periods of time.
4. You spend a lot of time standing/moving.
Do you spend a lot of time standing and moving around in an upright position? If you do, this can cause wear and tear on your spine. When the body is standing, the downward-pushing force of gravity is at its highest level. The effect of gravity pushing the body straight down toward the earth in the standing position can be very hard on the spine. It can compress the joints, which can lead to misalignment of the spine and nerve interference.
Nerve interference occurs when misaligned joints compress nearby nerves. When the nerves are compressed, their function can be inhibited. This can lead to numbness and tingling in the extremities, mental fog and exhaustion, lethargy, and a host of other negative symptoms in the body.
5. You have an unaddressed spinal injury.
Have you ever had a fall, been in a car accident (even a minor one), or had injuries as a child? Any of these factors can lead to unaddressed spinal injuries.
The spine can easily be injured during events in which the body absorbs shock or impact. This is very common in the modern world, and oftentimes, people aren’t even aware that they’ve sustained an injury. Unfortunately, injuries to the spine can cause inflammation, pain, and faster degeneration of the joints of the spine.
6. You have unaddressed spinal misalignment.
Have you experienced inexplicable back pain, shoulder pain, or neck pain? It’s possible that you have unaddressed spinal misalignment. Spinal misalignment (referred to in the chiropractic community as subluxation) is a common occurrence that affects a large number of people each year. It’s not difficult to misalign joints in the spine, and even small misalignments in isolated areas of the spine can lead to impactful symptoms that make daily living frustrating or uncomfortable.
The best way to determine whether or not your spine is misaligned is by coming into our office and receiving a complete, comprehensive assessment. At Advanced Spine and Posture in Lansing, Michigan, we ensure that every individual receives a thorough assessment designed to determine the condition of their unique spine. With an accurate knowledge of the condition of your spine, we are able to develop an individualized program that will help to bring your health to its highest potential. This may include helping to realign the spine, treating tense or strained muscles, tendons, and tissues, or working on areas where nerve interference is causing other symptoms like digestive distress.
If you’re ready to experience the life-changing benefits of chiropractic care, book your appointment today to begin your journey.