10 tips for a healthy spine

Victorian wellness chiropractor Michael Bloom shares his top tips

Your spine is a channel for communication between your brain and the rest of your body, so it’s vitally important you keep it as healthy as possible.

Your brain works like a central communication station. It contains information and instructions to be communicated to every tissue, organ and cell in the body via the nerves. The lines of communication are protected by the spinal cord, which is housed in a structure of bony vertebrae.

When the lines of communication are free from interference, the body is healthy. However, when the vertebrae become misaligned due to a variety of stresses, the communication from the brain to the body is interrupted, and we can suffer from health problems.

The following is a set of 10 quick tips that will help your spine stay healthy. It is vital to practice these points even when you feel fine, as creating healthy habits helps prevent future problems.

1. Exercise regularly

You’ve heard it before, but getting your recommended 30 minutes minimum of moderate intensity exercise on all or most days of the week will give you general health benefits as well as keeping your spine strong and healthy.

2. Eat a healthy diet

Proper nutrients allow the body to repair itself more easily. Eat organic, unrefined foods and drink at least eight glasses – two litres – of pure water every day. Our cells are our body’s building blocks and they need fuel to stay healthy. Aim for five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day.

3. Maintain good posture

Are you sitting or standing up straight as you read this? If you were to look at yourself from the side, is your ear, middle shoulder, hip, mid knee, and ankle in a line? They should be! Commonly the head and shoulders creep forward – this is poor posture and can cause problems. 

4. Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress

When you think of how much time you spend using these things each day, investing in a good quality chair, pillow and mattress is worth every cent. A study in the UK identified that during their lifetimes, office workers sat for approximately 32 years! We also spend a lot of our time sleeping, so make sure you’re adequately supported.

5. Sleep on your back or side, never your stomach

Avoid sleeping on your stomach; it twists your neck. Also, avoid the fetal position; it reverses your spinal curves.

6. Stretch your spine before and after sports

This will also help to loosen up the surrounding muscles. Try a gentle yoga twist or side bends.

7. Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting

Whether in a car or at a desk, stretching regularly will help keep you from tightening up or injuring yourself. Movement is the key! If you sit for a prolonged time, your muscles and joints become stiffer. Regular breaks and stretches help to maintain healthy joint and muscular function.

8. Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder

This is a sure-fire way to place pressure on your vertebrae and encourage poor alignment. 

9. Don’t overload your backpack, purse or wallet

Remember to carry your backpack over both shoulders to balance the load (if possible). Children are advised to carry less than 10 per cent of their body weight in a school backpack and this is also sound advice for adults. Keep your wallet out of your back pocket when sitting, especially when driving. 

10. Consult a health professional

If you have chronic stress or pain, consulting the experts is essential, so don’t delay.  

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.