5 Habits for Spinal Self Care
As a chiropractic clinic, we believe in the power of keeping your spine healthy. With thousands of nerves connecting to your spinal cord and from your tail bone all the way to your brain, your back and spine are massive components in your nervous system, which transmits signals between your brain and different parts of the body.
Needless to say, if your spine isn’t in proper alignment, it can cause problems such as:
- pain in lower back, neck, knees or hips
- excessive fatigue
- numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
If you feel like you’re experiencing these types of problems, it’s probably time for you to call a chiropractor. But if you’re in between visits or simply want to form good habits for a healthy spine, here are five habits that can help your spine feel great:
One of the best ways to keep your spine healthy is to stretch every day. Simple stretching for 2 minutes a day can do wonders for your back and your whole body. Here are some simple ones to try, holding each pose for about 10 seconds.
- Toe Touch – Bend forward and touch your toes (or as far down as you reasonably can reach)
- Standing Quad Stretch – Stand straight and tall and pull your right foot up behind you and hold. Feel the stretch through the front of your leg. Switch.
- Seated Twist – Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Bend your right knee, and reach over with your left arm to hug it. You can even place your left elbow on the outside of your right leg. Feel the stretch in your right glute and your back. Hold for 10 seconds and switch.
For more stretching ideas, check out this 10-minute daily stretching sequence from FitBit.
If you sit in an office chair all day and then go home and sit on the couch to watch TV, you might notice your back feeling tight. Interestingly, rest isn’t always good for your back, and too much inactivity can cause muscle weakness that leads to strained muscles and pain. If your back is in good shape, exercise can help keep your back muscles limber and flexible. Look for exercises that engage your core. Strengthening your back and abdominal muscles will help keep your spine healthy and strong.
Sit and Stand Tall
Having improper posture can make it hard for your spine to stay in proper alignment because it increases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of your spine together. Unfortunately, many of us have never had great posture, so our muscles aren’t accustomed to holding up our torsos correctly.
At your desk, sit all the way back in your chair and put a small cushion or even a rolled-up towel behind your lower-mid back. This is to support the natural bend in your spine. Make sure your knees are level with your hips or even a bit higher. Your feet should be able to rest flat on the floor. Make sure your arm rests are at the appropriate height so your shoulders stay low at the proper position.
When standing, keep your back straight as if someone was pulling your hair or you were balancing a bottle on your head. Tuck in your chin, and keep your shoulders back. Keep your hips directly below your torso. Over time, you should begin to notice a difference in your posture. Your spine will thank you!
We should all spend about 8 hours asleep every night, but if you’re sleeping in an unhealthy position for your spine, that means that you’re risking improper alignment for a third of each day.
If you sleep on your stomach, your spine is misaligned from your neck down. Try to sleep on your back, maybe with a pillow placed under your knees. The next best option is to sleep on your side; you can place the pillow between your knees.
If you’re experiencing back pain alongside anxiety, there may be good reason for that. Similar to poor posture, anxiety often causes your muscles to tense. Maybe you notice you’re holding your shoulders too high; alongside back pain, this type of physical stress can cause tension headaches.
Instead of allowing your anxiety to affect your back, treat the root issue. Practice simple breathing exercises like 4-7-8. Inhale for a count of 4 through your nose; hold it in for a count of 7; and exhale for a count of 8 through your mouth.
Keep your spine healthy and strong by practicing these five steps. If you want to jumpstart your results, see a chiropractor at Tuck Clinic for relief from back pain. You might not get it right away, but by building healthy habits, your spine is sure to thank you for it.
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