A healthy spine is something that is typically unappreciated until it becomes unhealthy. As soon as pain, numbness, tingling, or other similar symptoms are present in your neck or back, the main focus is to get back to normal health. If you are currently experiencing something that you believe to be wrong with your neck or back, the first step is to visit your primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan. However, if you believe your neck and back to be healthy and want to maintain proper health, there are a few simple things you can do, including keeping your weight down, eating a balanced diet, limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption, and exercising.
Keeping Your Weight Manageable
Maintaining a healthy, manageable weight is crucial for neck and back health because the spine is the primary support structure for the upper body. The more you weigh, the harder your spine will be forced to work to support your upper body. Eventually, the extra weight will flatten out the intervertebral discs within your spine and may cause you to hunch over when standing and sitting, both of which can give way to further spinal abnormalities. Reducing your weight will lessen the stress of your spine and will be beneficial for maintaining a strong, healthy neck and back.
Eating a Nutritious Diet
It is no secret that eating a nutritious diet is important in order to stay healthy, but what most people fail to realize is that eating healthy can be beneficial to your spine as well as the rest of your body. Chicken wings, ice cream, and salty snacks may be delicious, but they can take a toll on your body. Not maintaining proper nutrition can lead to premature degeneration of your internal organs, muscles, and bones, including your spine. If you fear that your spine may be in bad shape, it can help to eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean meat. Also, you should seek to increase the amount of water you drink to promote proper spine health.
Things to Avoid
Just like it is important to avoid foods high in salt and sugar for proper spine health, it is also vital to minimize alcohol consumption and avoid tobacco habits. Alcohol affects more than your brain and liver, and tobacco products affect more than your mouth, gums, and lungs. These can also be taxing on your spine and contribute in the progression of spinal abnormalities. If you smoke cigarettes or cigars, or if you dip smokeless tobacco, now is a better time than ever to kick the habit. Also, it can be difficult to commit to never drinking alcohol again, but limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day and avoiding binge drinking can be beneficial to your overall spine health.
Working Out - The Best Way to Maintain a Strong Back
All of the aforementioned advice is important to helping keep your neck and back healthy, but keeping your weight down, eating healthily, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco products don't particularly do much to keep your back strong. Exercises such as back extensions, lateral lifts, and a variety of others can help to increase muscle mass and reduce some of the stress on your spine. Also, light back stretches can be beneficial in keeping your back strong and flexible. So, whether you are a fitness enthusiast or you just want to prevent spinal abnormalities from developing in the future, it can only help to add a back workout regimen to your daily or weekly activities.