Celebrate World Spine Day with us on October 16th by committing to keep your spine healthy and active. World Spine Day is celebrated each year, in order to increase public awareness about painful spine conditions. The theme for 2019 is “Get Spine Active”!
It may seem natural for someone with a spine condition that is causing neck or back pain, to want to rest and to avoid movement. However, inactivity can lead to unwanted muscle loss, weakness, and additional injuries.
At National Spine and Pain Centers we advise our patients to seek treatment early after they start having pain. We also encourage them to stay active, stretch, and maintain muscle tone, within reasonable safety limits. These actions can lead to a faster recovery.
If you suffer from spinal pain and need treatment, click here to schedule an appointment.
Do You Suffer From Spinal Pain?
If you suffer from spinal pain, you are not alone! Studies show that spinal pain (low back or neck pain) is the leading cause of disability worldwide. It affects people of all ages, ranging from children to the elderly. (1)
Spinal pain is a broad term for a number of problems that affect the neck, back, or both.
Some common causes of spinal pain:
- Muscle or ligament strain. Heavy lifting and poor physical conditioning can hurt spine muscles and ligaments.
- Herniated disks. These cartilage cushions, found between the backbones, can bulge or rupture and start pressing on a nerve.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis (joint wear-and-tear) can cause low back pain. Rheumatoid arthritis (an immune system flare-up) can cause neck pain.
- Spinal stenosis. Painful narrowing of the space around the spinal cord.
- Scoliosis. An abnormal spine curve.
- Osteoporosis. Bone loss due to the loss of nutrients (calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium).
- Compression fractures. Backbone fractures that lead to height loss and a “humped back”.
There are many treatments that a pain specialist can use to ease your painful spine condition, including the conditions listed above. For more details, click here.
In addition to seeking treatment from a pain specialist in a timely manner, we recommend the following tips to keep your spine healthy.
10 Tips to Keep Your Spine in Good Shape
- Improve Your Work Environment. Change your work environment (desk, chair, keyboard) to increase comfort and prevent injury.
- Avoid Smoking. Nicotine affects the body’s circulation and slows down oxygen delivery and healing after an injury, such as a bulging disc.
- Strengthen the Core Muscles. Strong core muscles (muscles in your abdomen, hips, lower back, and pelvis), can ease back pain. Some popular exercises, such as pilates, yoga, or Tai Chi, strengthen these muscles.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight. Excess pounds put pressure on your spine and also create an unwanted strain on your hips, knees, and ankles.
- Keep Moving. Staying active keeps you conditioned and help you avoid injuries. Exercise does not have to be exhausting. Try light stretching, chair exercises, or pool workouts.
- Maintain a Healthy Diet. Maintain a diet rich in vitamins. Some foods (fish, berries) can fight inflammation and may reduce arthritis pain.
- Find a Good Sleep Position. Some sleeping positions can ease your back pain. Place a pillow between your legs or underneath your knees, for extra support. Get a mattress that allows your spine to stay straight while you sleep.
- Hold of Your Phone Better. Sit up when texting or reading. Keep your cell phone or tablet at eye level in order to decrease neck strain.
- Lift Carefully. Get help when lifting a heavy load and make sure to position yourself by keeping a wide stance. Bend from the legs, not the waist.
- Drive Comfortably. Adjust your car seat so your knees are slightly bent and supported by the floor. Use the lumbar support option in your car or keep a lumbar support pillow with you.
All patients deserve to live a fuller life, with less pain. If you would like to schedule an appointment, get started by clicking here.
(1) Hurwitz EL, Randhawa K, Yu H et al. The Global Spine Care Initiative: a summary of the global burden of low back and neck pain studies. Eur Spine J. 2018 Sep;27(Suppl 6):796-801.