October 16th is World Spine Day! This is a great opportunity for us to help raise awareness about spinal health. There are many spinal conditions that affect so many of us including low back pain, neck pain, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease (osteoarthritis) and osteoporosis just to name a few. Two main contributors of these issues can be poor posture and inactivity. As reported by the Ontario Chiropractic Association, 1/4 of adults are not active enough as well as 80% of adolescents. This year, the theme for world spine day is “Your Back in Action”. The goal is to focus on body awareness and activity to help promote a healthy spine. The Ontario Chiropractic association has taken this opportunity to offer many helpful tips and resources to help you do just that! I would recommend having a look at the site fit15.ca for some great ideas on how to add some activity to your busy schedule and make it realistic with your goals and time constraints.
As I mentioned before, two of the main contributors to some common spinal disorders are poor posture and inactivity. Here are some of my tips to address these issues…
Posture: If your spine is aligned it will make a world of difference. Be mindful of your posture. Awareness is the first step. If you sit at a desk all day make sure you don’t stay in any one position for too long and take microbreaks every 30-45min. This can be just as simple as standing up and reaching for the ceiling or walking around your chair. Another problem we see too often these days is forward head posture and slouching when using smart phones and tablets. If your head is held forward as you are looking down and shoulders rolled forward as well, you are putting a lot of extra stress and tension on your muscles, joints and ligaments. Again, be aware and mindful of your posture and your spine will thank you!
Activity: It is so important to keep your spine moving. If you work at a desk or are generally sedentary you really need to find some balance to make sure you keep your strength and mobility. It really only takes a few minutes a day to create a healthy routine and this little change can make a huge difference in your spinal health. A good variety of exercises and stretches including some that strengthen the core as well as some upper and lower body targeted choices can create a good general maintenance routine. Try some of the suggestions offered on the fit15.ca as I recommended before or just create your own. Pick and choose the ones that work for your specific goals and needs and try to keep to a manageable time commitment so that you can stay consistent. You can use some of the ones suggested on the OCA website or discuss some options with your complete wellness clinic team member. A good walk, hike or bike ride are always great ways to add in some activity, or just make good choices like taking the stairs or parking your car a bit further from your destination. It is always easier to commit to these changes if you find someone to do it with you, so recruit a friend, join a team or involve your kids and family.
World Spine day is a great time to take the opportunity to talk to your health care practitioner about these topics. Remember, chiropractors are specialists in back health so if you are concerned about your posture or have any questions please come see us for an assessment.