With over 80% of the population suffering from back pain at some point, being proactive in taking care of your back is critical to your health. Many people do proactive, preventative things they do for their heart health or skin health, but very few people daily support the part of the body supports all of your daily movements. If you have experienced back pain, you know it isn’t just a nagging annoyanc, it changes your mood, your schedule, and you can’t live the life you want. This is why spinal disc health needs to be part of your wellness habits.
The discs in your spine are the shock absorbers between the bones or vertebrae in the spine. They have a tough outer ring and jelly-like center that makes them flexible to help you move, bend, twist and absorb the pressure of gravity. Over time these discs can degenerate and lose their cushion or be easily injured. This degeneration causes pain when the discs bulge or herniate. Most people don’t think about these discs in their back until it hurts, and assume the only solution is drugs and surgery. Not only are there other treatment options that usually work better than drugs and surgery, but specific habits can help you prevent being susceptible to back pain.
2 Most Important Habits For Spine Health
- Movement: the discs in your spine have fluid and fibrous tissue inside the outer ring and jelly-like center. This fluid is full of nutrients that need to move through the tissue to keep it healthy. Movement such as regular exercise, stretching,and chiropractic adjustments — with a chiropractor Shawnee, KS trusts — helps to keep the discs full of fluid and nutrients. Physical activity actually helps improve the cell nutrition of the discs in your spine.
- Hydration: spinal health is yet another item on the long list of health benefits of water/hydration. We recommend drinking ½ your weight in water daily. For example, for a 150lb person, they need 75 oz of water daily. This amount increases with sweating and caffeine intake. Consider an additional 8oz (1 cup) of water per cup of coffee daily. Your body needs to stay hydrated to keep the optimal levels of fluid in your spinal discs. Lack of movement and poor posture actually dehydrates the discs.
While movement and hydration are the two most important and accessible spine health habits, other factors affecting spinal disc health should be considered. This includes: regular chiropractic care, good posture, balanced muscles, weight loss, quitting smoking and getting good sleep each night. Regular chiropractic care helps move nutrients through the spine, optimizes the nerve signaling through the spine, corrects or prevents imbalanced muscles, (among other things). Poor posture decreases fluid in the spongy fibers in your discs by 15% so having correct posture while working at computers for long hours is a must. Smoking continually damage the vascular (vessels) health in your entire body, including the spine and is big risk factor for back pain.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from LifeWorks Integrative Health for their insight into spinal disc health.