Tips for “Strong and Healthy” Spine

Spinal Column commonly known as the backbone is a complex system of bones, nerves, discs, muscles and ligaments.  Keeping it healthy actually is most important and fairly straightforward.

Here are some basic tips to keep the back healthy and active. These are I feel quite useful in this current scenario where our lifestyle is being changed due to the effects of the ongoing pandemic. 

Exercise regularly: This will improve overall health and also reduces the chance of getting back pain. To stay healthy, the spine needs a regular stretching, strengthening and some kind of aerobic conditioning exercises, such as swimming, yoga, light weights and walking. Without exercise, back muscles can become weak and unconditioned; can lead to back pain and injury. The right exercises will help one to stay healthy, strong, stress-free and pain-free.

Do not smoke: It is known that smokers are prone to more back pain than nonsmokers. Smoking reduces the blood flow to the discs and prevents calcium absorption and detrimental to new bone growth. Smoking may delay healing of minor tissue injuries leading to chronic pain.  

Healthy body weight: Extra weight, particularly in the mid-section or belly, shifts the centre of gravity forward and places additional strain to back muscles. It is always advisable to stay within 5-6kgs of ideal body weight. 

Keep core muscles strong: Weak “core” (back and abdominal) muscles cannot support back properly, leading to pain and injury. Commonly done exercises to strengthen back and abdominal muscles are Yoga or Pilates. But it is necessary to consult the spine specialist before doing vigorous strengthening exercises.

Use proper body mechanics while lifting, bending and stretching:  Whenever you must lift or move something heavy, always do it safely. Take some assistance to share the load. Instead of lifting a heavy object, try to push it. To reduce stress on the lower back keep the object close to your body and keep your back straight and heads up—do not bend over to lift.

Check and keep changing posture frequently while using your laptop, smartphone or tablet: Thanks to technology, injuring our backs has never been easier! Hunching over tablets, smartphones and laptops all day and night leads to painful neck and back strain. Being “connected” 24 hours a day can actually add stress to our lives. Limiting your gadget time will reduce stress. Whenever you use them do it in a neutral posture, keeping the screen at eye level. Stretching in between the work will help in reducing the back and neck injuries.  

Reduce stress: It is believed that there is a strong connection between stress and back pain. It’s important to reduce stress as much as possible, even if it warrants seeing a therapist, learning relaxation techniques or exercising more regularly is advised! By managing stress well, we can help to prevent back pain from occurring in the first place.

Moderation! Minimize the intense “weekend warrior” sports or housework activities. A regular regimen of stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning is better for the back than a single burst of intense exercise. 

“Keep healthy, strong bones by taking calcium, vitamin D and doing weight-bearing exercises” 


 

Dr. Ishwara Keerthi C

Consultant - Spine Surgery

KMC Hospital Dr B R Ambedkar Circle, Mangalore


 

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