If you’re like most people, you probably don’t take very good care of your spine. As the years add up, this lack of care can lead to pain and put you at risk for serious complications.
Watch: Spine Anatomy Interactive Video
To help alleviate your discomfort and prevent future injuries, try making these three spinal indulgences part of your daily routine:
1. Take a walk
Walking provides numerous benefits to your spine. For example, a daily walk strengthens the core muscles that support your spine, nourishes your spine by spurring healing nutrients to the area, improves your overall flexibility, and reinforces the bone structure of your spine.
If you suffer from a spinal condition, make sure to get the okay from your doctor before starting a walking regimen. If you’re not an experienced walker, or if you're dealing with severe pain, it’s a good idea to begin with several short walks every day and slowly build up to a single long walk.
2. Follow a healthy diet
You may not realize it, but the food you eat every day plays a significant role in relation to the overall health of your spine. To indulge your spine, try to limit yourself to foods you would find in nature—vegetables, fruits, meats, whole grains, and legumes. It’s a good idea to eliminate processed foods from your diet, and also to limit your intake of sugary drinks such as soda or lemonade.
As an added bonus, a healthy diet will help you maintain a proper weight—which in turn can reduce the pressure on your spine and minimize back pain.
3. Limit your phone use
Let’s face it—we all spend too much time looking down at our phones and other electronic devices. You may not think anything of it, but here’s how this bad habit can seriously impact the health of your spine:
- Your neck muscles are intended to support your head in a neutral position—meaning that your head should be balanced over your spine. This neutral position results in 10-12 pounds of force on your neck muscles and cervical spine.
- When you stare down at your phone or other electronic device, your head tilts at an angle of up to 60 degrees. This in turn places 60 pounds of force on your neck muscles and cervical spine.
If you have to look at your phone, try holding your device at eye level. It’s also a smart idea to elevate your laptop with a stand to reduce neck strain during the day.
The above three spinal indulgences may seem like small changes to your daily routine, but over time they can add up to meaningful relief.