Tag Archives: healthy back

Eating For Spine Health

Consuming a balanced and varied diet is beneficial for your entire body, including your spine. Nourishing your spine with the proper nutrients can help prevent back pain and improve your body’s ability to heal itself.

Would you say that your diet is healthy and you probably meet the recommendations for most micronutrients? If you answered yes, you’re one of few in the US. Below are some of the most important nutrients for your spine health and the percentage of American adults that don’t consume the recommended daily intake.

  • Calcium – 49%
  • Vitamin D – 95%
  • Magnesium – 61%
  • Vitamin C – 43%
  • Vitamin B12 – 4%

Aside from vitamin B12, it looks as though many Americans aren’t consuming enough of the nutrients essential to your spine’s health. Keep reading to learn more about the five micronutrients listed above, how they impact your spine health, and which foods they’re found in.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Did you know that calcium and vitamin D go hand-in-hand? Calcium is essential for bone health and maintaining bone mass, and vitamin D is needed for the body to properly absorb calcium. Learn more about how important calcium and vitamin D are to your spine health here.

You can find calcium in most dairy products, dark leafy greens, and legumes. Fatty fish, egg yolks, and the sun’s rays are common sources of vitamin D.95% of US adults aren't consuming enough vitamin D, a vitamin essential for bone health. Click To Tweet

Magnesium

Magnesium is a key mineral in bones and is also necessary for many of the body’s functions. When you don’t consume enough magnesium, the body takes magnesium from your bones to perform various bodily functions. This leaves your spine deficient and vulnerable to back pain.

Magnesium is found in most dark leafy greens, beans, nuts, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin C

Your body requires vitamin C to form collagen. Collagen is found throughout the body in the bones, muscles, skin, and even tendons. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, meaning it is vital for your body’s healing process.

You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin B12

Your body needs vitamin B12 to form bone-building cells and red blood cells in bone marrow. Animal proteins such as eggs, fish, meat, and dairy are the most common sources of vitamin B12.

So, next time you sit down for a meal, take a moment to think about the micronutrients you’re consuming. Being mindful of what you’re eating will go a long way in preventing and alleviating back pain.

Practice Proper Sitting Posture

Maintaining proper posture can work wonders both preventing and alleviating back pain. We’ve already covered how to achieve great posture while standing and believe it’s time to cover sitting posture.

The majority of us spend most of our days in the seated position. Whether it’s spent at a desk, at the table, or in your car, it’s important to keep the correct sitting posture in mind.Did you know that proper posture can help prevent and alleviate back pain? Click To Tweet

Proper sitting posture

While your mother was correct in telling you to sit up straight for all of those years, the advice ‘sit up straight as a rail’ isn’t quite correct. In fact, you never want your back to be completely straight, as it is naturally curved. When practicing proper sitting posture, remember to maintain those three natural curves in your back.

Follow the steps below to ensure you have good sitting posture.

  • Sit with your back straight and shoulders back.
  • Ensure your body weight is distributed evenly on both hips.
  • Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, keeping the height of your knees even with your hips.
  • Rest your feet flat on the floor or a footrest if needed to keep your knees aligned with your hips.
  • Try to not sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes.

Sitting posture check

Now that you know how to achieve good posture while sitting, here’s a little test to make sure you’re sitting correctly.

Begin by sitting at the end of your chair and slouch. Sit up as straight as you can, accentuating the curve of your back as much as possible and hold for a few seconds. Release the position into a comfortable, upright position. What you’re feeling now is proper sitting posture.

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Ward Off Back Pain With Exercise

We have a lot of family members of patients ask us what they can do to prevent back pain. While it depends on the cause of pain, we generally advise that they can ward off back pain with exercise and proper posture. Weight training can help prevent back pain. Click To Tweet

Believe it or not, one of the best forms of exercise to help prevent back pain and injury is weight training. When done properly, weight training can strengthen your back and abdominal muscles, making you much less likely to strain your back. While your goal may be to specifically strengthen your back, abdominal, and hamstring muscles, you cannot solely focus on those muscles groups. Doing so may lead to imbalances in your musculature and result in other areas of pain.

Tips for staying safe

If done incorrectly, weight training can quickly lead to back pain and injury. To avoid that happening to you, keep the tips below in mind.

  • Always practice proper form. If you are uncertain of the proper form, please consult an expert or a personal trainer at your gym.
  • Focus on slow and steady resistance training, avoiding any jerky or sudden movements.
  • Start with a light amount of weight. When you feel comfortable performing the exercise at that weight, challenge yourself by slowly increasing the weight or amount of repetitions.
  • Never skip warming up or cooling down.

Below are two exercises to try if you’re specifically looking to strengthen your spine. Add them to your current workout and perform them up to 2 times per week, completing 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions each time.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Image: Bodybuilding.com

 

 

 

 

 

Find a flat bench and place a dumbbell on each side. Position your right leg and right hand on top of the bench. Use your left hand to pick the dumbbell off the floor and hold it while keeping your back straight. Pull the dumbbell up to the side of your body, keeping your upper arm close to your side and your torso stationary. Then, lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Perform this movement 10-15 times before switching sides. After completing the exercise on both sides, rest before repeating it 1-2 more times.

Planks

Planks

 

 

 

 

Start by getting into the pushup position and dropping onto your forearms, making sure your elbows are directly below your shoulders. Keeping your core muscles tight, make sure your entire body forms a straight line. Hold the position for as long as you can before resting and repeating the exercise 1-2 additional times.

To ward off back pain with exercise, it is important to be consistent. Starting out, we recommend you only work out 2-3 times per week and increase from there. As always, it’s best to consult your physician before beginning a new exercise regime.

Foot Orthotics And Lower Back Pain

Would you believe it if we told you that simply using shoe inserts could help alleviate your lower back pain? It’s time to start believing because foot orthotics and lower back pain have a proven link. Research has shown that foot orthotics (shoe inserts) can help manage lower back pain, depending on the cause of the pain.

Foot orthotics are used to correct abnormal or irregular walking patterns by changing the angle your foot strikes the ground. Ideally, while walking or running your foot should strike the ground completely level. However, some people naturally have a gait that’s pronated (your feet hit the ground more on the inside edge) or supinated (your feet hit the ground more on the outside edge).

If you’re asking yourself how the way you walk could have anything to do with your lower back pain, we have one question for you. Have you ever heard of the domino effect?

Your feet are the foundation of your entire body. Pronated or supinated feet cause your knees to shift inwards or outwards, respectively. Once your knees are out of alignment, your hip posture becomes unsteady, resulting in a destabilized spine. And all of the sudden, all of the dominos have fallen.

The only difference between the game of dominos and your walking pattern’s influence on your spine is the speed in which things occur. It would take years of an irregular walking pattern to cause lower back pain, while a game of dominos is over in a few minutes. Years of an irregular walking pattern can cause lower back pain. Click To Tweet

Spinal Conditions Foot Orthotics May Help

Foot orthotics can only help manage pain caused by non-neurological causes. Below is a list of some of the conditions that may benefit from the use of foot orthotics:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Muscle strain – lower back
  • Facet syndromes
  • Sacroiliac joint syndromes
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis – without nerve root damage

If you are experiencing lower back pain, we urge you to look at the soles of your favorite shoes. By looking at the wear on the treads, you can often determine your walking pattern. If you discover your feet are pronated or supinated, foot orthotics may just help you manage your lower back pain.

All About Spinal Stenosis

Have you ever heard of spinal stenosis? If not, it’s about time you learned the basics of this common spine condition that affects an estimated 8-11% of the population. Since most cases are degenerative, individuals over 50 years old have the highest risk of developing the condition.It’s estimated that 8-11% of the population is affected by spinal stenosis. Click To Tweet

In short, spinal stenosis is when the spinal canal begins to narrow. While most don’t feel the canal begin to narrow, they later experience symptoms such as radiating pain, numbness, or weakness. These symptoms begin to arise as the nerves in your spine and your spinal cord become compressed. The most common causes are age and arthritis.

Spinal stenosis can occur in any area of your spine. In order to determine the exact cause and location, a specialist must perform tests.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when spinal nerve roots in your lower back are compressed. It can cause symptoms such as tingling, weakness, and numbness radiating from your lower back into your legs. Most patients we see complain of weakness or numbness in their legs when walking and relief when they sit down.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Cervical spinal stenosis is when your spinal cord is compressed in your neck. It can be an extremely serious condition and lead to weakness and paralysis. The symptoms most seen include weakness, tingling, numbness, and pain in the arms and hands. It can also cause problems with balance and coordination.

Thoracic Spinal Stenosis

Thoracic spinal stenosis isn’t as common as the other two types. Since this section of your spine is stabilized by the rib cage, it is less susceptible to degenerative conditions.

We posted this blog for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as a diagnosis or professional medical advice. If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms listed above, we urge you to contact your physician to discuss what can be done to help.