Dr. Anand Blog
February 16, 2017
In the season of love that is February, what better way to ensure you can continue caring for those around you than to take care of your own spine health? If you’re among the millions of Americans who suffer from at least one back pain episode each year, it comes as no surprise that it’s quite easy to lose “that lovin’ feeling” when you’ve injured your back. Instead of fixing it, or waiting for it to heal itself when something’s gone wrong, try these three helpful tips designed to keep your spine in tip-top shape so you can continue living the life you love, with the people who matter most to you:
While it should come as no surprise that calcium is an important mineral in building strong bones, you may be surprised to know that calcium can be found in a variety of sources, not only dairy. So, if you’re lactose intolerant, there’s great news for you. Sardines, kale and oranges are excellent sources of calcium, and each one packs other fantastic health-boosting benefits, too. Although milk and cheese will still get you the biggest calcium bang for your buck, if you don’t tolerate either, give these other sources a try.
The benefits of exercise for spine health are many-fold. For one, a regular exercise routine, coupled with a healthy diet, can help you keep your weight in check. Maintaining a healthy body weight helps reduce unnecessary pressure on your spine and joints. In addition to reducing your spine’s weight load, exercise that focuses on core muscle strength is highly beneficial for strengthening the muscles that surround and protect your spinal column. Even low-impact exercises such as yoga or Pilates place an emphasis on elongating the spine and maintaining its alignment. So even if your body can’t quite handle a marathon or heavy weightlifting, daily stretching routines can help your spine stay strong and healthy.
Beyond diet and exercise, there are some lifestyle choices that can put you at a greater risk for injuring your spine. Cigarette smoking, for example, has been linked to an increase in spine injuries and back pain. The reason for this is that smoking reduces circulation and blood flow to the muscles and tissues in the body – making them more susceptible to injury and illness. Additionally, risky behaviors such as extreme sports or particularly dangerous jobs can put you at risk for traumatic spine injury. Though you may not be able to switch careers, be sure to know all you can about performing your job function in the safest ways possible. The same goes for extreme sports – safety first! It may look cool “without a net,” but I promise a broken back will never be worth any “coolness” achieved.
As you focus on all things love this month, throw a little of that affection toward your spine health. As corny as it may sound, you’ll thank me for it the next time you see someone you care about suffering from a nasty back pain episode.