Spine Health: Taking Care of Your Back

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Spine Health: Taking Care of Your Back

By keeping a healthy spine, you can prevent many illnesses, such as osteoarthritis, nerve damage, and other musculoskeletal issues. / Photo by: Getty Images

 

Back pain is a widespread health problem that is commonly encountered by doctors all over the world. Back pain is a leading cause of disability wherein lower back pain is a frequent complaint. 

Back pain can affect one's quality of life and the health care costs are very steep. There are many people who have lost their job due to their back pain. Various people are leading a sedentary lifestyle where most part of the day is spent in front of the TV or computer. Keeping a healthy spine can be very challenging but this is very important especially if you want to maintain or improve your quality of life.

By keeping a healthy spine, you can prevent many illnesses, such as osteoarthritis, nerve damage, and other musculoskeletal issues that may affect your daily life. 

Thespinehealthinstitute.com said that as we get older, we begin to experience more pain and aches. Some assume that this is due to age. While this is true, there are other things that you can do to prevent and prolong spinal problems from occurring. 

Maintaining Good Habits for the Spine

Sometimes, back pain is unavoidable. However, before you get older, now is the time to protect yourself from having spine problems. Regular exercise is one way to maintain your weight so that your spine will not suffer. There are also stretches that are appropriate for every muscle group, including safe activities for the spine, such as swimming, yoga, walking, and bicycling. 

It is also important to maintain a good posture all the time especially when you are at work, spending most of the time sitting down. There must be proper lumbar support. 

Before starting any physical activity, see to it that you have warmed up and stretched your muscles. Avoid heavy lifting as much as possible and practice proper bending, twisting, and lifting techniques. Avoid objects that are 25% of your body weight. 

 

Regular exercise is one way to maintain your weight so that your spine will not suffer. / Photo by: Getty Images

 

No matter what bag type you are carrying, wral.com advises making sure that the weight is evenly distributed across the body. Messenger-style bags are good. Those who prefer backpacks should wear it in a way where the lowest part of the bag fits along the lower back. The spine must remain straight so extension and flexion that sometimes happen when wearing a backpack can’t hurt your spine. 

Too much screen time can leave you with upper back tension and weakened chest cavity. When you are using your phone or the computer, you are most likely bent forward for the most part of the day. Chiropractors call it a "tech neck." The best position is to keep your head up. Improper posture may lead to neurosurgery. 

The monitor must be placed ergonomically.  Many people probably spend at least 6 hours daily sitting in front of computers without giving ergonomics much thought. The ideal monitor position is one where you do not have to turn your neck and it should be around eye level.

It is important to have a healthy lifestyle and proper diet. Eating a balanced diet will keep your bones strong. If you are smoking, you need to stop or get help to stop smoking. If there are plenty of stressors for you in a day, see to it that you find time to loosen your back and neck muscles at the end of the day. 

Regenerative Medicine for the Spine

There are plenty of treatments for back pain. If you are suffering from chronic pain caused by spinal discs problems, there is hope. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, regenerative medicine aims to address possible improvements to the current treatments available for spinal disc conditions. This is where researchers try to find a way to extract stem cells to grow new tissue that will behave like a spinal disc. 

Researchers have done a study on the regeneration of healthy spinal discs with the use of the person's own stem cells. In this study, the subjects used were goats because their cervical spinal disc shape is similar in humans. The results are promising and regenerative medicine for those who have spinal conditions are actually starting to look up. 

A person who has back pain caused by disc degeneration has two treatments to choose from. First, the damage discs can be removed and then fused. This is called spinal fusion surgery and is effective most of the time. This is also a minimally invasive procedure and reduces the risk of complications. 

Another treatment for spinal disc damage is the replacement of the damaged disc with an artificial one that is made of metal or plastic or a combination of both. This is also minimally invasive but may need to be replaced over time. 

Both techniques work for different people. It depends on the situation and the possible risks and complications based on the assessment of the physician. 

While the study and technique used on goat subjects have to be analyzed further, it can still be a possibility for humans soon. 

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