Your spine runs from the base of your skull down to your pelvis. It supports your upper body, protects your spinal cord, and allows you to move through life.
Spine health is key to overall health, but, unfortunately, back pain is all too common. About 80% of people suffer from back pain at some point in their life, and it can have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life.
While spine problems can’t be avoided completely, there are things you can do to help protect and care for your spine. William Graham, MD, and our team at Sporting Medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina, specialize in orthopedics, and in this blog, we share our best tips for keeping your spine healthy at every age.
Your spine is a central component of your musculoskeletal system, and keeping your spine healthy is one of the best things you can do to help maintain your overall wellness.
You can help care for your spine by doing the following:
Exercising regularly is one of the things you can do to help maintain a healthy spine. Aerobic exercises, such as cycling or taking a brisk walk, can boost circulation and strengthen muscles.
Furthermore, gentle stretching can help keep your back flexible, and strength training exercises, such as yoga or weightlifting, can help build core strength to reduce stress on your back and lower your risk for back pain.
Having a poor posture can put extra strain on your spine, particularly your neck and upper back. Hunching compresses the muscles and bones in your spine, which can lead to discomfort, stiffness, and pain.
By maintaining good posture, you can reduce strain on your back and reduce your risk for back pain. Make sure to sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed, and stand with your feet hip-width apart, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your back straight.
Your spine supports the weight of your entire upper body. If you’re overweight or obese, your spine is under more stress. Over time, carrying extra body weight can contribute to back pain. You can keep your spine healthier by working toward a healthy weight and maintaining it.
Repetitive motions, such as bending, twisting, or lifting, can put extra strain on your back and increase your risk for injuries, such as herniated discs. Try to avoid repetitive motions as much as possible to protect your spine.
If your occupation or hobbies require it, always use the proper technique, take time to stretch, and consider using assistive devices, such as back supports, to reduce strain on your spine.
Getting enough sleep is important for your overall health and well-being. Furthermore, how you sleep is important for your spine health.
Strive to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Get a mattress and pillow that will support your body well, and sleep on your back or side. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, because this could interfere with your spinal alignment.
Even with the best care, you may still develop back pain. For example, you could suffer an acute injury or develop a chronic condition, such as arthritis. If your back starts hurting, here are some things you can do to get relief.
If your back starts hurting, take it easy for a few days and avoid any activities that could make the pain worse. To reduce pain and swelling, you can try over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
You can also try applying heat or cold to your back. A heating pad or hot water bottle may help increase blood flow and reduce pain, while an ice pack may help reduce swelling and numb the area.
If you’re in significant pain, or your back doesn’t get better within a few days, come see us. Dr. Graham and our team can examine your back, review your medical history, and diagnose what’s causing your pain. Then we can develop a treatment plan.
Physical therapy is an effective way to relieve back pain and reduce your risk for future injury. With this treatment, your physical therapist guides you through exercises and stretches to build strength, alleviate pain, and improve mobility.
We also offer regenerative medicine, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and other treatments designed to promote healing and reduce pain. No matter your diagnosis, our team is ready to help you heal and get back to your favorite activities.
If you want more personalized tips to keep your spine healthy, or if you want treatment for back pain, call 704-503-9023 or book an appointment online with Sporting Medicine today.