When your back hurts, it makes even the simplest tasks seem impossible. Your spine plays a huge role in your ability to walk, work, and enjoy physical activity. Taking care of your spine is one of the best ways to avoid pain and injury as you age.
At the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico, our specialized team sets you up for success when it comes to your spine health, and helps you get back to your healthy lifestyle.
Understanding your spine
Your spine comprises many components that keep your spinal cord safe from injury. The bones that make up the spine are called your vertebrae, and they provide structural support to your spine and house your spinal cord.
In between each vertebra are small, jelly-like intervertebral discs, which provide shock absorption to the vertebrae. The disc has a hard outer shell called the annulus, and a squishy center, known as the nucleus.
Your spine also contains nerves that provide feeling to various areas of your body and muscles that help to stabilize the bones in your spine and keep you upright.
All of the components of your spine are prone to arthritis or injury. This is especially true of the spongy discs, which erode over time. Your nerves may also become pinched or damaged from the repeated stress on your spine.
Taking the time to properly care for your spine helps prevent issues from arising like pain or injuries.
Tips for optimal spine health
Supporting your spine throughout your life is one of the best ways to avoid pain or injury. There are a variety of tips to keep your spine in good shape, some of which include:
Keep an eye on your posture
Your posture has a lot to do with the overall health of your spine. This is especially true when sitting, as your discs take on more pressure in this position.
Try to limit the amount of time you’re sitting, and make sure you have a sturdy, supportive chair when you do sit. Also, make sure your back is straight, and avoid slouching or hunching your back.
Strengthen your abs
Your core is an important aspect when it comes to your spine. Strengthening your abdominal muscles helps your posture and helps carry the load of your body, so your back isn’t doing all the work.
Incorporating abdominal exercises a few times a week significantly helps to support your spine and back muscles.
Your spine needs to be properly supported even when you’re sleeping. Try to use a medium-firm or firm mattress, which allows for the support your spinal column needs.
If you sleep on your back, a pillow underneath your knees helps keep your spine in good alignment. For side sleepers, a body pillow provides support or simply a pillow between your knees. Spinal alignment while sleeping allows your spine to rest without excess strain.
Watch your weight
One of the best things you can do for your spine is to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese puts intense strain on your spine, especially the intervertebral discs. Over time, excess weight wears down the discs, leading to pain and injury.
Even losing a small amount of weight is helpful when it comes to spine health. Incorporating healthy eating habits and moderate exercise keeps your spine in good condition.
Staying physically active is a great way to maintain the health of your spine. Sitting for too long puts a lot of extra strain on your back, leading to pain and muscle spasms.
Simply walking every day is a great way to support your spine. If you work in an office and sit a lot, try to get up and move around every hour or so. Moderate exercise is another way to keep your body and mind healthy, along with maintaining strength and flexibility in your spine.
Taking care of your body is important in keeping your spine healthy. Practicing yoga or getting regular massages is a great option to maintain your spine. Physical therapy also helps you learn how to use your spine correctly, to avoid pain and other issues.
If you have back pain, our team offers several conservative measures to get you back to feeling like yourself. Never hesitate to seek treatment for your back, as it’s a vital aspect of your well-being.
To learn more about protecting your spine and fighting back pain, call our office at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment online using our convenient scheduling tool.