As we age, the chance of getting a degenerative spinal problem increases, as we have used our spine for 50-60 years after all. Just like anything else, our spine becomes weaker and there are many things that contribute to the weakening of the spine including age, obesity and lack of exercise. Although some of us may be more prone to getting a degenerative spinal problem due to other problems, there are ways to reduce the risk and keep your spine stronger.
One of the best ways to prevent your spine from weakening is to stay at a healthy weight. The more we weigh, the more the spine must support, leading to over-exertion. If you are unsure if you are a healthy weight, go to your doctors to get a BMI test, where they can give you some advice about keeping your BMI at a healthy level. Eating a balanced diet and 30 minutes of exercise a day can help reduce the risk of obesity. Foods high in omega fatty acids will contribute to healthy joints and bones. Consuming foods that have a high fiber content and are low in fat will reduce body mass meaning the spine will have less weight to support.
Low-impact exercise is the best way to promote a healthy and strong spine. This includes walking and swimming, as these don’t rely too heavily on the spine but still work the spinal muscles. Light weight training can also promote a stronger spine and muscles surrounding it, but ensure you know what to do before you grab the weights to reduce the risk of injury. Yoga can help your spine to become more flexible and stay strong, so perhaps join your local yoga class, or there are many great yoga videos on the internet. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime, especially if you have existing health or spinal problems such as arthritis or ligamentum flavum hypertrophy.
Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Smoking can have many detrimental effects on your health but unbeknown to many it can also affect your spinal discs. The nicotine and other toxins found in cigarettes stop the discs within your spine from absorbing appropriate nutrients and vitamins needed to have and maintain a healthy spine. It is never too late to stop smoking, attend a stop smoking clinic today. Although most of us enjoy an occasional drink, heavy drinking can mask the symptoms of many degenerative spinal problems as it acts as a muscle relaxant. If you are having spinal issues, visit your doctor to get medication prescribed for your pain.
Although all of these can help reduce the risk of a degenerative spinal problem, you may still develop one. All adults will suffer from a varying degree of degenerative spinal problems but only a few will have painful nerve compression from this. If you believe you are developing a spinal problem, visit your local chiropractor for help, treatment and advice.