Unless you’re experiencing constant pain and discomfort, you may not often think about the health of your spine; however, the spine is a vital part of your body, as it’s the core of your nervous system, and its structure directly impacts your overall health. A misaligned or unhealthy spine can cause a host of conditions that can lead to chronic pain issues, neuropathy, radiculopathy, or other various health issues, making it difficult to perform your daily activities.
Knowing how to keep your spine healthy can help you prevent short-term ailments like muscle spasms and neck and back pain as well as long-term conditions like chronic pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Getting a comprehensive spinal evaluation is beneficial in creating both preventive care and treatment plans.
Below, we dive deeper into the causes and effects of an unhealthy spine and then provide you with tips on how to keep your spine healthy, including seeking support from a chiropractor who utilizes Chiropractic BioPhysics®.
Causes and Effects of an Unhealthy Spine
There are many causes of an unhealthy spine, but there is also a wide range of effects that can occur if you ignore any symptoms you may be having. An unhealthy spine typically gives subtle warning signs long before chronic symptoms appear. For example, if you are experiencing headaches and joint pain, or if you feel fatigued or notice stiffness or tingling in your extremities, these can be signs that something is wrong. A chiropractor who utilizes Chiropractic BioPhysics® can teach you how to keep your spine healthy once the cause of the pain or numbness is determined.
- Poor posture: Poor posture causes pressure on your spine and body that negatively impacts the nervous and circulatory systems.
- Repetitive habits: From your gait to how you sit at your desk, if you repetitively engage in improper habits, your spine may be negatively impacted.
- Prior injury: Injuries from a bike or car accident, even when sustained as a child, can have detrimental effects on the spine if not properly treated immediately.
- Slips and falls: Any slip and fall can cause several issues, including whiplash, slipped discs, or pulled muscles. Your body will often compensate and may develop a bad postural habit.
- Extra body weight: Being overweight can place extra pressure on the spine and discs, leading to early degeneration or herniated discs.
- Spinal misalignment: The number one cause of back or neck pain is a misaligned spine. This means your spinal structure is not at its natural or neutral state. Spinal misalignments can be caused by injury, aging, poor posture, exercising, gaming, or moving the wrong way.
- Neck and back pain
- Spinal deformity
- Degenerative or bulging discs/compression fractures
- Chronic pain
- Headaches and/or migraines
- Muscle spasms
- Damage to the nervous, digestive, and vascular systems
Having an unhealthy spine makes it more difficult and painful to perform everyday tasks and movements, such as sitting, bending, picking up objects, or even just walking. While regular chiropractic treatments can help improve your mobility and range of motion, there are additional steps you can take to obtain and maintain a healthy spine:
- Maintaining an ideal ergonomic environment: Besides being uncomfortable, poor sitting posture and improper workplace (or home) ergonomics can damage spinal structures and contribute to recurrent episodes of neck or back pain. When sitting at a computer desk, it’s important to ensure you have a comfortable chair and that your keyboard, mouse, and monitor are situated so that you’re not straining your neck, arms, wrists, or fingers.
- Performing strengthening exercises: Practicing core exercises before, during, and after sitting for long periods can strengthen the muscles that support your core gravity. This will help keep your spine better aligned and your muscles from atrophying. Some of the best core exercises you can do to help strengthen your posture include planks, leg lifts, curl-ups, or bird dogs. The McGill Big Three exercises are great for all body types and focus on stability in a neutral spine position.
- Stretching: Continually stretching throughout the day will promote increased circulation to the muscles and joints, preventing inflammation from setting in. Stretching for just two minutes every hour or two can positively affect your posture and spinal health. Some stretches you can do include walking knee hugs, arm circles, lunges, leg swings, neck tilts, and waist bends. Dynamic stretches are best.
- Having posture awareness: Being aware of your posture is perhaps the most important thing you can do to keep your spine healthy. When you proactively implement good posture, you set yourself up for optimal spinal health. Here are a few checkpoints:
- When you stand, align your hips over the center of your ankles. Place your weight in the middle to the back of your arch, not in the balls of your feet. You should be able to tap your toes; this will automatically help set optimal neutral alignment.
- While sitting, keep your knees at a right angle so they are even with your hips, and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your back straight but not in a forced or tense position. Make sure your head is straight and your shoulders are positioned over your hips. Your hips should be positioned over your ankles.
- Set an hourly timer to check in with your posture and go through the checkpoints above.
- Ensuring proper spinal alignment: A chiropractor specializing in Chiropractic BioPhysics® can help determine the cause of your spinal misalignment and will work with you to develop a plan to get your spine back to its natural curvature while improving posture and overall health.
Benefits of the Chiropractic BioPhysics® Technique
Understanding how to keep your spine healthy is the first step in minimizing your pain, improving your range of motion, and living the healthy, active life you deserve. Proper spinal alignment has a direct, positive impact on the functioning of your body and allows you to:
- Reduce or resolve neck, back, and joint pain.
- Understand and maintain a proper posture.
- Increase your muscle endurance and strength.
- Improve your mobility.
- Reduce or resolve any tingling or numbness.
- Have improved circulation and nerve function
- Have higher energy levels.
- Enhance your athletic performance.
At PostureWorks, getting your spine back to its natural curvature is what we specialize in. We believe in and practice the highly-advanced, evidence-based Chiropractic BioPhysics® technique. Our biometric spinal analysis allows us to determine the root source of your pain and helps us create a customized treatment and maintenance plan so that we can get you back to optimal health.
We don’t just treat your spine—we also teach you how to keep it healthy by incorporating some of the tips we mentioned above. Our customized plans can include spinal remodeling traction methods that work to rid the spine and joints of misalignments, postural exercises to help your body maintain an optimal posture throughout the day, and nutrition and wellness tips to help you stay in adequate shape.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique that aims to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. CBP is a conservative, evidence-based, and non-invasive way to minimize and/or eliminate back and neck pain. To learn more about how to keep your spine healthy or to schedule your appointment with the experienced team at PostureWorks, contact us today.