Healthy Spine Tips for 2019
Was 2018 hard on your back? Do you have acute or chronic spine pain?
Make 2019 the year for a healthy spine. Here are six tips from New Jersey’s state-of-the-art surgical care center for a healthy spine this year and a flexible back for the rest of your life.
About Your Spine
Your spine is a series of bones, known as vertebrae, which sit on top of one another in a way that allows you to bend, lean and twist your abdomen. Rubbery discs between each vertebra cushion the bones.Inside your spinal column is a bundle of nerves that goes from your brain, out through tiny holes in the spine, to the rest of your body. Pressure from inflamed muscles or connective tissue, bulging discs and a narrowed passage inside the spinal column can press on these nerves to cause back pain and a wide variety of other problems.
If your back hurts, you are not alone – about 65 million people in the United States experience back pain, according to Georgetown University, and about 16 million American adults have chronic back pain. A number of spine conditions, such as a herniated disc or muscle spasms, can cause pain, numbness, tingling and loss of function in your back, neck, shoulders, hips and legs. Spine problems can even cause symptoms far away from your back, such as in your hands.
The good news is that a few handy tips can help you improve the health of your spine and reduce your risk of having a bad back.
Hoboken, NJ, Doctor Offers 5 Tips for a Healthy Spine this Year
1. Get quality sleep
Sleep is the only time your muscles, ligaments and other musculoskeletal tissues of your body can truly relax. Sleep is also important to the healing process as you recover from back injuries or spinal disorders.
Sleep on a mattress that is firm enough to support your spine but soft enough for comfort. You may have to try a few mattresses – or even recliners – to find the right one. Using the right pillow can help too, as a good pillow holds your head and the bones of your neck in correct alignment.
2. Strengthen your core muscles
Strong abdominal and back muscles support your spine and take pressure off your back. Certain exercises, such as bridges, can strengthen these muscles. To perform bridges, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, directly below your knees. Tighten up those abdominal and buttock muscles to lift your hips from the ground, and create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds before returning your hips to the floor; aim for 10 repetitions and two sets of bridges during an exercise session.
3. Wear shoes that support your spine
Your shoes are the only contact between you and the ground, so shoes serve as the foundation for spine health whenever you are on your feet.
The arch of your shoes need to support the weight of your entire body, so shoes with soft padded arches are likely to provide extra support for your spine. Running shoes and specially designed inserts and insoles often provide extra support for arches to prevent back pain. Flip-flops are flat, by comparison, so their lack of support can lead to pain from your feet to your back.
4. Limit sitting time and use good ergonomics when you do sit
Sitting puts 40 to 90 percent more pressure on the rubbery discs of your spine than does standing, according to Cornell University. This is especially true if you slouch or use poor ergonomics when sitting.
5. Consult with a doctor who specializes in spine health
A healthy spine starts by detecting and treating any problems that could cause a bad back. Consult with your Hoboken, NJ, spine doctor for an evaluation of your spine. Our SPINE/RX doctor will perform a comprehensive spinal evaluation to detect and diagnose any spine problems that are currently causing pain or disability. In some cases, spine surgery may bring you relief from back pain, neck pain or spine pain.
For more information about spine health, contact SPINE/RX. James Dwyer, MD, can diagnose and treat a number of back problems, such as back pain and lower back pain, back spasm, bulging disc, degenerative disc disease, neck pain or spasm, slipped disc and more.