Tag Archives: spine health

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.

If you’re interested in more healthy back tips like this one, please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or register for our monthly email newsletter.

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.

Smoking And Back Pain

The news that smoking is bad for you is hardly groundbreaking. Smoking has been linked to serious diseases like lung cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. Did you know that smoking and back pain are also related? That’s right, if you’re a smoker and are experiencing back pain, smoking is probably part of the issue.

In our line of work, we see the effects of smoking in our patients far too often. So, if you or a loved one is suffering from back pain or preparing for a spinal fusion, this blog post may serve as another great reason to quit smoking.

Smoking And Back Pain

Smoking contributes to the hardening of arteries which decreases your overall blood flow. As you likely learned in a biology class at some point, blood provides nourishment to your body’s organs and structures.

When blood flow is restricted, the areas of your body fed by smaller vessels, like your bones and spinal discs, become severely undernourished. With little to no blood supply, these bones and discs rely on surrounding tissue for nourishment.

But since the surrounding tissues aren’t meant to provide nourishment, they will eventually become depleted, leaving your bones and discs to essentially starve. Once your bones and discs have reached this point, they can no longer repair themselves and will likely cause you pain.

Smoking And Spinal Fusions

One of the most common surgeries we perform is the spinal fusion. In this surgery, a bone graft is used to form a solid bridge between two vertebral segments. For a successful surgery, the bone graft and vertebral segments need to grow together. The problem is that smoking inhibits bone growth, which can cause the surgery to fail.

In fact, smokers are twice as likely to have an unsuccessful spinal fusion as non-smokers. Even if the surgery is successful, smoking accelerates disc degeneration. That means smokers are more likely to continue suffering from chronic pain.Smokers are twice as likely to have an unsuccessful spinal fusion as non-smokers. Click To Tweet

 
Here at Nebraska Spine Hospital, we know that it isn’t easy to quit smoking, which is why we don’t expect our patients to do it alone. We’ve implemented a Surgical Readiness Program to help prepare patients for a healthy surgery. Whether you need to quit smoking, start exercising or lose weight, we offer one-on-one support to help you reach that health goal and, ultimately, have a successful surgery.