New Year’s Resolutions for a Happy and Healthy Spine

Is it March already?

The District has experienced many extreme snowfalls this winter, as well as fluctuating high and low temperatures. Luckily, permanent warm weather may be right around the corner! Beginning at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10th, get your clocks ready to spring forward for Daylight savings time!

As you prepare your mind and body for spring, why not update your New Year’s resolutions as well? Studies have shown that most Americans tend to make resolutions that focus on weight loss, diets, finances, or relationships, but, there’s one important health-related goal that people tend to overlook: their spine.

Leave your back pain in 2018 with these  tips for a healthy spine:

  1. Practice at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day

Doctors often recommend 30 minutes of exercise each day to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, increase heart health, improve memory, productivity, and self-confidence, and boost your overall mood.

Lesser known, however, is the life-altering benefits physical activity can have on your spine. The last thing you want to do when your back in aching is get up and go for a run, but, research shows that getting your body in motion is beneficial for your spine!

A regular routine of aerobic and strength training exercises can help alleviate neck or back pain by reducing the likelihood of and/or severity of flare-ups, keeping the spine functional and mobile, burning calories to help achieve or maintain optimal weight (this can remove excess pressure on the spine), and increasing the production of endorphins which act as a natural painkiller.

To strengthen your back, stomach, and leg muscles, try:

  • Partial Crunches
  • Hamstring Stretches
  • Wall Sits
  • Pelvic Tilts
  • Bridges

To strengthen your lungs, heart, and blood vessels (and help you lose weight), try:

  • Swimming and other water aerobics
  • Elliptical or step machines
  • Biking
  • Walking

For a combination of both, try:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates

For severe pain, start with shorter intervals of exercise, such as 5-10 minutes of walking or swimming, and gradually work your way up to a more extensive routine.

2. Improve your Posture

Spinal discs are loaded three times more while sitting than standing. During long periods of stationary activity, stress is added to your back which can lead to backaches, muscular pain, and headaches.

If you work at a desk all day, practice good ergonomics by positioning your monitor at eye level, standing tall with your shoulders pulled back and spine in a neutral position and feet flat on the floor. To avoid hunching or straining your neck, hold your cell phone, tablet, or other mobile devices in front of your face when using them.

In addition, choose the right office chair! The purchase is worth the comfort. For help choosing the right chair, go to http://ow.ly/3U9S30nVU7z.

3. Stay Hydrated

This may go without saying, but water is an imperative source of nourishment for our bodies, and especially our backs! Because the discs between your vertebrae are composed almost completely of water – and play an important role as “shock absorbers” – maintaining proper hydration is key to successful back health.

When not properly hydrated, these discs begin to shrink, which can lead to swelling and eventually pain or worse case, a ruptured disc.

So, drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your muscles and intervertebral discs healthy, happy, and hydrated!

5. See a Chiropractor

Getting adjusted regularly might not be at the top of your priority list, but, it should be!

Routine adjustments from your chiropractor can help correct misalignments and imbalances before they cause back pain or other serious health issues.

When your spine is aligned correctly, your muscles, nerves, and joints can reach optimal functionality and enable your body’s restorative healing properties.

Become a practice member today with Ashburn Family Chiropractic. We’re here to help!