5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Spine
A chiropractor might be inclined to focus entirely on the spine when setting New Year’s resolutions. This might seem narrow-minded, but considering that spinal health has a huge influence on overall health, perhaps we could all stand to set a few spinal resolutions. One excellent yearlong promise would be to get regular chiropractic adjustments.
Chiropractic adjustments improve overall health because they enhance the functioning of the nervous system. You can think about your nervous system as the body’s highway. Nerves stretch into every square inch of your body, communicating vital information throughout the system. Indeed, the nervous system (including the brain) is the body’s command structure; it both takes in information and provides appropriate responses. As you can imagine, if the nervous system is not functioning well, there are often cascading effects on the performance of other body systems.
1. Improved sleep.
Sleep has a huge influence on your overall health; it is when the body repairs itself. Experts suggest 8 hours of sleep every day. We spend a large portion of our lives in bed; make sure you have a supportive mattress and pillow that keeps the neck and back in proper alignment. Your muscles will be better able to relax if your body is properly supported in a neutral position.
2. Physical Activity.
Various forms of exercise protect your spine in different ways. Ideally, daily activity will combine cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercises. Aim for 30-60 minutes most days of the week. Talk with your chiropractor or other health professional for a customized program, tailored to meet your fitness goals.
Perpetually tight muscles can cause imbalances in the body’s structure, resulting in pain. Tight hamstrings, for example, pull down and back on the pelvis, disturbing the proper alignment of the spine. Stiff muscles also cause spinal stress and put more pressure on articulation points where two or more bones come together. Stretches, especially full range of motion movements such as shoulder rolls, relieve stiffness and promote healthy joints. Dr. Smith can assist you with stretching exercises at your next appointment.
4. Create a spine-healthy work environment.
Adjusting poor workplace ergonomics can relieve any number of symptoms, including sciatica, stiffness in the neck and back, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors also recommend that office workers take plenty of active breaks. Staying in any one position for too long causes leg and back muscles to tighten up and become stiff. Finally, make sure your chair has lower lumbar support. When you sit at a computer desk, you knees should be bent at a ninety-degree angle, and both of your feet should rest comfortably on the floor.
5. Stay hydrated.
Water performs many functions in the body. Soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in the joints depends on water intake, for instance. Also, intervertebral discs can shrink over time if they don’t get enough water. As these discs shrink, your spine has less padding, and you’re more likely to suffer painful spinal ruptures or bulges. Carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day, and sip liberally. Your spine will thank you. Remember: Eight, 8 ounce glasses per day!
These spinal resolutions will help keep your back strong and pain-free in the New Year! SoundCare Chiropractic wishes you all health and happiness in 2013!