Spinal Health Week is a national initiative of the Chiropractors' Association of Australia. In 2015 the theme is "Get Your Happy Back"
Our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are having a negative impact on our spinal health. As a result, an increasing number of Australian are suffering from low back pain, neck pain, headaches and fatigue which is impacting on their ability to work and engage in an active lifestyle.
The alarming figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that 70-90% of Australians will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
Our mission at Proactive Chiro & Sports Med is to encourage people to be proactive and prevent back pain. The following are 10 preventative steps to stop you becoming another one of these statistics and "Get Your Happy Back."
1. Improve Your Posture
We spend so many hours sitting, so it is vitally important to avoid slouching.
It is imperative to ensure that your workstation is set up correctly with screen and keyboard at appropriate heights.
The use of a lumbar support on your work chair and car seat can help.
2. Exercise Regularly
The discs in our spine require movement to get nutrients and remain healthy.
Integrate exercise into your day by walking or riding to work, exercising in your lunch break, taking up a sport or joining a local gym.
3. Taking Regular Breaks From Your Phones and Screens
Text Neck is a term used to describe neck pain due to looking down at wireless devises for too long. This may lead to chronic headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain etc.
Taking breaks every 15-20 minutes from computer screens, tablets and phones is the best way to reduce the strain placed on your spine.
Doing simple exercises like looking up, down, side to side, and shoulder rolls during these breaks are a great way of preventing text neck.
4. Support Your Back When Carrying Things
Bracing your core muscles, keeping your back straight and bending at the hips and knees when lifting and carrying things is very important to prevent serious back injury.
This is relevant not only for heavy objects, but even small items we carry every day.
5. Improve Your Sleeping Posture
Posture isn't only important during the day. We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping, so the position in which we sleep is important too.
It is best to sleep on your back or side, so that your spine remains in a neutral position. Sleeping on your stomach puts too much strain and stress on the low back and neck.
Side sleepers may find sleeping with a pillow between their knees help prevent their pelvis rolling and twisting.
Back sleepers may find a pillow under their knees helps take some stress of their lower back.
6. Quit Smoking
Studies show that smokers experience back pain more frequently than non-smokers.
This is because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen the body receives, which it needs in order to maintain healthy ligaments, muscles, and spinal discs.
Smoking can also reduce your body's ability to heal and repair, which means it may take smokers longer to recover from back and neck pain than non-smokers.
7. Teach Your Kids About Spinal Health
It is important to teach your children good posture and how to look after their spines from a young age, so that they can avoid back pain later on in life.
Limit the time children are using computers, tablets and phones is very important to prevent early onset of spinal pain and degeneration.
8. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Taking steps to improve your spinal health may not make a huge difference if they are not integrated into a healthy lifestyle.
Nutrition, wellness, mental health, exercise and spinal health are all interrelated and connected, so it’s important to focus on your overall health in order to improve your spinal health.
9. Improve Your Core Stability
Most back and neck pain develops due to poor spinal stability and control.
Performing regular spinal and core exercises can help improve your spines stability and prevent back pain
10. Visit Your Chiropractor
Make a booking with your chiropractor to get an assessment of your spine and posture.
Prevention is much better than cure, and regular chiropractic visits can help get on top of small problems before they develop into back or neck pain.
Symptoms and pain are the last things to show up with an injury. Just because you are not in pain, doesn't mean everything is ok.
Call Proactive Chiro & Sports Med and see how you can "Get Your Happy Back."