7 Steps to a Young, Healthy Spine
Youth is wasted on the young. As a Chiropractor, I prefer to say a healthy spine is wasted on the young.
If you’re someone over the age of 35, you should be able to relate to this adage. It seems so easy for 20-somethings to keep themselves looking good and feeling great.
They pull an all-nighter, eat tasty foods and go hard at the gym, then are able to do it all again the next day. Yet here we are, keeping count of every calorie or macro-nutrient we’re allowed to enjoy, watching them live their young lives with envious eyes.
This is especially true when it comes to your spinal health. When you’re younger, it’s easy to keep a healthy spine. You are more flexible, athletic and robust in structure.
As you age, everything gets sore so easily. You feel rigid, tight and stiff after such simple tasks. It’s as if your hardware needs an update, and you fantasize about getting new parts for your worn-out body.
Many patients ask me how to keep a spine healthy for life. It’s actually easier than they think. Here are the 7 steps to a young, healthy spine:
- Choose 1 simple exercise.
- Keep your 2 feet well-cushioned.
- Enjoy 3 sleeping positions.
- Get adjusted by your Chiropractor every 4 weeks.
- Take 5-minute breaks.
- Avoid inflammatory activities 6 days a week.
- Don’t put up with pain past 7 days.
Choose 1 Simple Exercise
There’s no single exercise or stretch that will magically get your spine healthy. To the dismay of patients looking for a quick-fix to their chronic pain and horrendous posture, a healthy spine prefers variety.
In other words, a healthy spine curvature loves movement - and lot’s of it.
Between your spinal bones, there’s a layer of padding that acts as a cushion for your healthy spine. It’s mostly water in these anatomical “pillows”, and when you move your body, more water gets pumped inside. That’s a good thing!
If you’re a couch potato, these discs dehydrate and wear out over time. Furthermore, the more wear & tear you have in your spine, the older you look and feel.
I’m a big fan of keeping things simple, so I recommend picking one exercise that you can do often. Be it walking around your neighbourhood, mountain biking or hitting the heavy bag, keep moving and stay young.
Keep Your 2 Feet Well-Cushioned
While you stand, walk or run, all the impact that doesn’t get absorbed by good quality shoes ends up in your spine. Little by little, this accumulation of physical stress may cause your healthy spine curvature to change.
Always look for thick soles when getting new shoes and slippers. It could be the difference between a young, healthy spine versus an old, tired body.
Enjoy 3 Healthy Spine Sleeping Positions
What’s the best sleeping position? Is sleeping on your side bad for you? Should I be sleeping on a soft or hard mattress?
Chiropractic patients tend to over-complicate good sleep. There’s really only one principle you should be thinking of - a neutral spine.
If you have broad shoulders, a thicker, firmer pillow might be better for you. If you have flexible hips, place a pillow between your knees to prevent too much twisting.
It all depends on your body type. Having said that, there are 3 recommended sleeping positions for most people:
- On your back.
- Left side.
- Right side.
Prefer to sleep on your stomach? That’s a healthy spine Chiropractic no no.
Get Adjusted By Your Chiropractor Every 4 Weeks
Chiropractic care isn’t just for people in pain. In fact, most subluxations don’t cause noticeable symptoms of discomfort.
Chiropractic is also a great way to look after your spine and health. A good rule of thumb is to get your spine checked and adjusted every 4 weeks.
A suitable comparison is a habit of getting your teeth cleaned by your dentist every 6 months. Dental care isn’t just for people who need their teeth pulled out.
Take 5-Minute Breaks for Your Spinal Health
This isn’t just for white-collar patients who spend the week sitting on their bum. A healthy spine doesn’t enjoy being in one position for a long time.
So if you work retail, take a 5-minute sitting break. If you’re a tradie, get down from that ladder. An ANZ bank employee? Step away from your desk and go for a coffee run.
If you want a healthy cervical spine, use a standing desk or switch between the screens of your electronic devices. I’m sure you have at least 2.
Avoid Inflammatory Activities 6 Days a Week
Certain foods and activities can increase inflammation in your body. Inflammation causes premature ageing and increased pain.
It’s easy to identify pro-inflammatory habits because these are things that are generally bad for you (but usually feel really good while you’re doing them). You might even be guilty of some of them.
However, some of these are hard to avoid or eliminate from your daily life. For many patients, it may not be practical to quit sugar, stop drinking or turn vegan.
Instead, dedicate one day a week to these activities.
Obviously, quitting smoking is favourable if you want to reduce inflammation. Nonetheless, allowing yourself to smoke on Saturdays may be easier to follow through.
Don’t Put Up With Pain Past 7 Days
Neck and back pain are pretty common for Chiropractic patients in Adelaide. It can happen to anyone of any age group and isn’t necessarily a sign of ageing.
If you start developing any pain in your body, don’t wait more than 7 days before you seek help from your Chiropractor Adelaide.
The longer you leave your pain condition, the worse it gets. Furthermore, your pain becomes chronic if it lasts more than 12 weeks.
Get help early and you’ll have a fighting chance to keep a young, healthy spine.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of every Chiropractor or the Chiropractic profession as a whole.