Five tips for spinal health
Are you suffering from neck and/or back pain? Do you struggle with poor posture? Do you spend a lot of time standing at work, sitting at a computer or slumped over a desk? If so, here are five basic tips for improved spinal health.
Purchase a good quality mattress and pillow. While you’re lying down, all of the structures in your spine that have worked hard all day finally have an opportunity to relax and be rejuvenated. While there are many mattress types available, your choice of mattress and pillow should be based upon your personal preference, preferred sleep positions and your specific spinal issue.
Choose appropriate shoes to support your spine. Whether you’re exercising or walking/standing for extended periods, the shoes that you wear provide a supportive base to help the alignment of your spine and skeleton.
Practice good ergonomics while sitting. The discs in our spine are loaded three times greater while sitting than standing, so long periods of sitting can create or aggravate a painful spinal condition. Moreover, when sitting at a desk and/or looking at a computer screen, our natural tendency is to slouch and lean forward, stressing our discs even more. Choosing the right office chair and practicing upright posture while seated plays an important role in supporting spinal health.
Limit total sitting time if possible. The spine is meant to move to stay healthy, so it is important to do whatever you can to avoid sitting for long periods. Get up to stretch and to walk around every 20 to 30 minutes; try a stability ball, kneeling chair, or standing desk in order to change your standard computer setup; and get up and walk around while talking on the phone.
Engage in core strengthening exercises. Practices such as yoga, pilates and dance help to teach us to engage our core stabilizing muscles and to build spinal strength. The stronger our spinal muscles are, the more support we have for proper posture, spinal alignment and joint health.
With over 20 years of experience as a specialist in the upper cervical spine, Upper Cervical Chiropractor Dr. Erin Elster, D.C., has been helping patients with spinal injuries for the past five years on Maui. For more information, contact Dr. Elster in Kahului at (808) 866-6551 or www.erinelster.com.