Ensuring you have a healthy spine makes sense, when you think about it, because your spine is the key to holding your entire body together. We look after our hair and teeth and get check ups at the doctors for all sorts of things, but what about our trusty spine?
Your spine holds you upright and protects your spinal cord which is responsible for passing messages to and from the brain for our whole body. Apart from when your parents and teachers told you to stand up straight, most people don’t put a second thought to their spine until something goes wrong.
Love your spine – it’s a valuable asset!
Aside from the reduction in chances of pain and injury, maintaining a healthy spine is crucial to good health and wellbeing:
- Your spine controls everyday movement such as bending and twisting. When not taking proper care of your spine (either through poor movement or poor posture), everyday tasks such as sitting, turning, bending and twisting can be
- Poor spinal posture, especially for prolonged periods of time, can change the loading on your spine and other parts of body. This can lead to degenerative changes in your spine and other joints.
- Poor posture can lead to a poor breathing technique, which is a crucial function for good health, productivity and quality of life.
- In short, maintaining a healthy spine increases your quality of life, meaning you are able to do the activities you love for many years to come.
How to maintain a healthy spine – pain and injury prevention
The key to having a healthy spine is by maintaining optimum posture and movement patterns. We do this by having good flexibililty and adequate strength in the supporting muscles. This doesn’t mean you have to be a gymnast or a weight-lifter; just that you maintain enough flexibility and strength for your own day-to-day activities. This can be taught and re-trained.
Muscle People’s top tips
With more than 20 years of experience in physiotherapy, the team at Muscle People have a few choice tips. While there are many things that you may have been told, their absolute top tip is that our bodies were not designed stay in one posture for hours on end. We were designed to move! Some tips from our physiotherapy team include:
- Prolonged standing: If you have to stand for a prolonged period of time, remember to gently pull your shoulders back and down, and squeeze in your tummy to achieve a stronger core.
- Uphill: If you are walking uphill, rather than leaning forward (as might be instinctual), place your arm behind your back and walk tall.
- Positioning: Just like standing, you need to sit up straight with your shoulders gently pulled back and your back flush with the chair. Make sure you have a good chair and if needed, add a lumbar roll.
- Crossing legs: If you like to cross your legs while sitting, make sure to alternate which leg you are crossing to avoid incorrect spinal curvature.
- Breaks: No-one can sit perfectly for eight hours – remember to take regular breaks to loosen your muscles and avoid tension.
If you are having issues with back or neck pain, or just wish to improve your spine health, give Muscle People a call about their Dynamic Spines Programme. For a free five-minute consultation to find out if this programme is right for you, phone 0800 027 194.