What daily action do you take in support of your spine?
If you are a chronic sitter, proactive spinal care is a must. There is no disagreement among health professionals that sitting is the worst possible position for your spine. It puts more pressure on the spine than any standing or lying down, and the pressure is increased even further by poor posture, which is epidemic among chronic sitters. Here are the worst things that happen to your body (from a chiropractic perspective) while you sit:
- Glutes and hamstring muscles weaken
- Hip flexors tighten and pull your body out of alignment
- You gain weight which increases the pressure on your spine
- You develop stiffness throughout the back, but especially in the shoulders and the neck.
The cumulative effect is a weakening and destabilization at the base of the spine, which leaves you vulnerable to back pain and spinal degeneration.
Take a moment to apologize to your neck
You may not mean to impose so much tension upon this sensitive structure but, nonetheless, you still find yourself leaving work each day with a sore, stiff neck. It used to be that too much reading posed a significant threat to the cervical spine; now it is too much screen time. So many of our lives are lived in front of computer and smartphone screens and few of us credit the toll that they take on our cervical vertebrae. The natural instinct when using a screen, much like reading a book, is to crane your neck forward. This magnifies the already palpable weight of the head and increases the amount of downward pressure that is compressing your cervical vertebrae. What’s more, because we are barely moving, certain muscles are tightening and others are weakening from lack of use. What we then have is a complex network of muscles that are pulling your spine out of alignment, causing impingement on nearby spinal nerves.
Dehydration is one of the most debilitating factors for your spine
It affects every part of the structure:
- The discs become dried out and lose their ability to cushion the vertebrae and absorb shock.
- The joints become less lubricated and lose their ability to support full range of motion
- The muscles that support your spine become cramped and weaken as they lose nutrients and oxygen from the lack of circulation
In short, your spine cannot function properly without the proper input of water. When your body is dehydrated, it diverts remaining water supplies to the vital organs to keep them running and keep you alive. But that means that even less is available to the muscles and structures of your spine, and so the vicious cycle continues. This is why, at Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we choose water! Read on to find out more about how water supports spinal health.
A plea for you to adhere to your target weight
There are few things that help your spine more than maintaining a healthy weight. Each pound you hold on to over that target zone are adding an unbearable burden onto your spine, increasing the wear and tear on your joints and ratcheting up the compression on your intervertebral discs. As your muscles strain to account for this burden, the whole network of stability is threatened and back pain is a frequent result. We are lucky if it stops at pain- excess weight and obesity are some of the primary contributors to long term spinal conditions and spinal-related disability in our populations. if you are looking to lose weight, here is a great way to go about it: