A Healthy Spine is Key to Healthy Aging
Your spine is one of the most important parts of your body. It provides support and structure and allows you to move freely and to bend with flexibility. It is designed to protect your spinal cord, which is responsible for connecting your brain with the rest of your body. Without the spinal cord, you could not move any part of your body and your organs could not function. This is why keeping your spine healthy is vital to staying active and managing the normal aging process.
How Your Spine Works
The paraspinal muscles run along your spine, supporting it and acting as the ‘motor’ for movement of the spine. The joints of the spine allow flexibility and your muscles allow mobility. It is very important to maintain flexibility and mobility as we age because when any part of the spine is injured, muscles will automatically go into spasm as a protective mechanism. This reaction is designed to reduce movement and prevent further injury. Spasmed muscles produce a chemical called lactic acid, which causes a painful burning sensation when it cannot be removed from the muscle. Although lactic acid is normally produced by a chemical reaction in the muscle when muscles relax and contract, when injured, the muscles remain tight and contracted, trapping lactic acid and creating pain and discomfort.
Flexibility is Key
The ‘S’ curved shape of the spine is intended for support and shock absorption. Although the lower part of the spine holds most of the body’s weight, each segment relies upon the strength of the vertebrae above for the spine to function properly. The whole purpose of the spinal column is to house and protect the delicate spinal cord,which is a column of millions of nerve fibers running through the spinal canal. The nerves in each area of the spinal cord connect to specific parts of your body. Keeping a strong, flexible spine is key to managing physical aging, as the more mobility and flexibility you have in your spine, the more active you can be for many years to come.
5 Ways to Support Your Spine
1. Check your posture while sitting –and stand up!
The discs in your lower back are loaded three times more while sitting compared to standing, and sitting also encourages a slouching tendency which can lead to muscle spasm. Be sure to take breaks from sitting; walk around, stretch and move your body. The spine needs to move to stay healthy and because movement will fuel the joints, ligaments and muscles around the spine with healthy nutrients
2. Enjoy regular massages and chiropractic treatments
The therapeutic benefits of massage therapy include the release of endorphins into your bloodstream. With natural pain relief, injured muscles may need less over-the-counter pain killers to relieve pain. At the same time, massage can also encourage blood flow to injured and spasmed muscles and will speed up recovery. Chiropractic treatments are helpful because they improve spinal mobility, thereby improving your body’s function. The body has an innate ability to heal itself and when the spine is in proper alignment,the body can maintain health and well-being and can age gracefully.
3. Exercise your core to strengthen your abdominals and back muscles
Your core muscles need to be strong and supple to support the spine and take pressure off your lower back.
4. Wear good, supportive shoes
The shoes you wear play an important role in supporting your spine whether you are exercising or just going about your day. Good shoes provide a supportive base that helps the spine remain in alignment. Your shoes should hug your foot, provide under-arch support and limit rolling of the foot to the outside or the inside (supination and pronation).
5. Sleep on it
Getting a good night’s sleep helps the spine and the paraspinal muscles relax. When we sleep, our breathing pattern helps to move blood and lymph to the spine and surrounding areas, promoting spinal health.
About the Author
Dr. Claudia Machiella owns and operates one of the GTA’s leading chiropractic clinics. Since 2001 Dr. Claudia Machiella has grown and built her practice and has been a Chiropractic advocate in her community. Most recently she has opened a second location in Vaughan in order to provide increased accessibility to chiropractic so that more people […]Read Bio Read Posts