The spine is among the most important components of the human body, and plays a number of different roles in daily function. Avoiding injury to the spine and promoting optimal spinal health are essential to preserving proper function and supporting optimal quality of life for patients of all ages. The team at Rocky Mountain Brain & Spine Institute offers the following tips on how to take care of your spine.
A Healthy Lifestyle is Essential to Spine Health
One of the most powerful things that you can do to boost the health of your spine is to engage in a healthy way of life. This includes eating a wide variety of healthy foods, making exercise a part of your daily life, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Strengthening your abdominal muscles is another way to provide support to the pelvis and lower back, which are critical in supporting the spine. By providing your body with the nutrients and physical activity that it needs to thrive, you will also be preserving the health of your spine, and boosting the body’s natural ability to address minor injuries to the tissues surrounding the spine.
Get Plenty of Quality Sleep
In order to function at the highest possible level, your body requires regular periods of rest. Spine-health can be greatly enhanced by putting sleep at the top of your priority list. That means not only getting plenty of sleep at night but also preparing a sleeping environment that will contribute to quality rest. Choosing a quality mattress and pillows can help make sleep more restful. Also, the best sleep positions are on your back or side, as sleeping on your stomach offers little in the way of spine support.
Learn Healthy Spine Habits
The activities that we perform over the course of the average day can have a big impact on the health of our spine. It is important to use proper lifting techniques, even when lifting objects that are not excessively heavy. Avoid twisting while lifting, as well as lifting heavy items over waist-level. Attempt to move items using the method that is least likely to lead to injury, such as pushing an item rather than pulling it. Be sure to ask for help as needed, and never attempt to lift or move a heavy object on your own.
Make Simple, Everyday Changes
Many of us perform tasks throughout the day that can be harmful to our spine health, often without even knowing it. Take the time to assess your daily choices, and make adjustments where needed to avoid injury or undue stress to the spine. This means wearing shoes that provide the right level of support, and taking plenty of breaks to avoid remaining in the same position for too long. If you work in an office setting, be sure to create a workstation that allows for good posture, as well as support of the lower part of the spine while sitting. If possible, make use of a work surface that adjusts to allow standing for part of the day, or a shelf to elevate your computer monitor to eye level.
At Rocky Mountain Brain & Spine Institute, we believe that educating our patients on how to best promote a healthy spine is an essential part of our practice. We are proud to offer tips such as those outlined above to help you live a healthy, happy life while promoting optimal spine health.