Spinal health through nutrition is not a far-fetched idea
In fact, it is a very sound idea that too many of us ignore! Diet forms part one of the triad of factors that help you manage your own spinal health, along with exercise and sleep, (posture coming in a close fourth). You can choose ingredients that fortify your spine, as well as ones that directly address and reduce back pain. Fortunately, dieting for your spine overlaps with healthy dieting in general, with a few specifications. If you are looking for some inspiration to improve your spinal health this new year, check out our guide below for some sound advice.
Decompression is therapy for your spine
Among the different kinds of decompression (simple stretching, nonsurgical and surgical), the underlying theory is the same: by changing the position of the spine, we can alleviate pressure on the spinal canal and nerves to effect improvements in back pain. Nonsurgical decompression, of the kind we offer at Espinosa Family Chiropractic, often utilizes a motorized table to gently stretch the spine, creating negative intradiscal pressure and allowing for the rehydration and healing of intervertebral discs. What if we told you that you can create a similar decompressive effect from your own living room?
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.
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.
Sleep is essential for pain management
For people suffering from spinal conditions, sleep often offers the only reprieve in a day full of pain and discomfort. Being able to extend your spine on a comfortable mattress may offer pain relief for some, but for others sleep is less easy to come by. When it comes time to quiet your mind and get to sleep, there is nothing to distract you from your back pain. Insomnia becomes both a cause and an effect of your back pain, and this cycle can be hard to break out of. The best way to get to sleep despite your pain is by finding comfort. At Espinosa Family Chiropractic, we have dedicated our lives to helping people with chronic back pain increase the amount of comfort in their lives so that they can find the sleep they need to push on.