As Chiropractors, it is our goal to help you reduce your back and neck pain. In clinic we align your spine, improve your nervous system function and reduce the risk of reoccurring pain. Between visits your spine is affected by your activities of daily life. These include sitting at the computer, lying on the couch, exercise or lack of, looking down at your phone, carrying the shopping and many other activities.
So here are my top 10 tips for maintaining your spine between regular chiropractic visits.
Starting your day off with a walk or some core stability exercises can effect how your spine feels through out the day. The morning is the most effective time to activate your core. It keeps your brain connected to and using the core muscles through out the day.
Starting the day with core stability exercise doesn’t mean doing sit ups. Sit ups will often aggravate back and neck pain due to poor technique and stress on the spinal structure. Try a plank or bridge exercise.
Rounded shoulders and forward head carriage both contribute to neck pain. This causes postural muscles to maintain contraction and hold the weight of your head. These muscles are not designed for this type of contraction. A lack of blood flow and the change in spinal alignment is a common cause on ongoing neck and shoulder pain. By stretching your pectorial muscles you can help reduce the stress on your neck and start to make basic postural changes.
Most of us sit or bend forward for long periods of time during the day. Over stretching the gluteal muscles and hamstrings. This leaves the hip flexors in a shortened position. To create balance and reduce back pain you need to stretch your hip flexors and quadriceps.
Look down at your phone? Got text neck? Now think about where your head is and the position your neck is in!! Your chin is on your chest. Your head weighs 5+kg. Studies show for every inch you move your head forward it doubles the strain on the muscles in your neck. Doing this regularly puts pressure on the discs and joints in your neck, causing degeneration.
Be aware of your posture in the car, at your desk, on the bus and at home on the couch. Sitting slouched for long periods of time puts posterior pressure on your discs. This tears the annular fibers, degenerating the disc and creating disc bulges. The solution is to do as your mother told you, “Sit up straight!”. How? Practice pelvic tilt. Posterior pelvic tilt will make you slouch. Reversing your lumbar spine curve and pushing your head and shoulders forward. Anterior pelvic tilt, when seated, will put the natural curves in your spine in place. Taking little effort from you.
Sleep is important. We heal when we sleep. Stretch before you go to bed. It will help you sleep better. Reducing tension. Sleep on your side or back. The position you wake up in is normally your most comfortable sleep position and will be the easiest for you to get to sleep in. Remember never sleep on your stomach.
Massage is a great stress reliever. It increases blood flow and reduces tension. Massage pushes nutrients into our muscles and joints. Tight muscles can often be a source of pain. They put excessive force on joints and create imbalances in your structure. Regular massage helps maintain overall health.
Move it or lose it! Circulation, digestion, lymphatic drainage, nerve function and muscle health all rely on movement. Don’t sit still too long. Your health depends on it.
You only get one spine. Look after it. Get regular adjustments to maintain your spinal alignment and keep your nervous system happy.