How to Keep Your Spine Healthy As You Age

By: Guest Author

Published: November 19, 2018

Written by Dr. Brent Wells- Guest Contributor

As you age, your body starts to exhibit different ailments and issues that you may not have had to deal with previously. Just like with anything that gets used, wear and tear on the human body is inevitable. You will start to feel aches and pains where you never did before, heart health is a concern getting older, along with the proper operations of all kinds of other systems found within your body.

Thankfully, there are actions that you can take to keep yourself healthy and slow down the process of aging at least a little bit. One of the essential parts of your body’s functioning is spine health. Your spine is the central operational system of your entire body along with the brain. If you want to stay healthy, you have to ensure you do everything you can to keep this part running at its best. Find out ways to keep your spine healthy as you get older so that you can live out your best life.

What Happens to the Spine as we Age?

Degenerative disc disease leads to most of the problems that arise in the spinal area as you age. There are vertebrae in the spine with discs in between each one that absorb impact and provide cushioning. As you get older, the cartilage wears down, and the water content can be lost. Some common health issues to the spine at that point are:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Collapsed discs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal stenosis

When any of these things happen, your vertebrae are moved out of proper positioning, and your nerves compress. Pain, stiffness, tenderness, reduced flexibility, and limited mobility are all symptoms of problems with the spine.

Regularly Completing Spine Health Exercises

If your spine is already causing you pain and discomfort, the last thing you want to think about is exercising it. However, there are several low to no-impact exercises that you can complete in just a few minutes a day to help in strengthening the back in improving flexibility.

You can build up your core and strengthen your back at the same time with:

  • Bridge Exercises
  • Alternative Squats
  • Abdominal Bracing
  • Hip Crossover Stretches

The main thing to remember is only to do what you feel comfortable with. Never overstretch or overexert yourself, especially if your back is already hurting. Just do what your body will allow you to. You can always increase your exercise intensity or the duration later on after you build up those back muscles.

Following a Proper Spine Health Diet

Believe it or not, what you feed your body is just as important as how you treat it physically. The spine requires specific nutrients from various food groups to stay healthy. By incorporating these foods into your regular diet, you are contributing to the overall health of your spine and central nervous system:

  • Avocados – loaded with a vast number of nutrients and properties good not only for your spine but your entire body
  • Protein – lean options like fish and chicken are best for spinal health
  • Nuts – calcium and healthy fats are great for your spine; almonds, Brazil nuts, and pecans are best for the musculoskeletal system
  • Fruits – fruits are natural anti-inflammatories which reduces back pain; nutrients found in berries are the best for spine health
  • Vegetables – spinach, kale, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables give your spine the strength and support you require, and they also provide anti-inflammatory benefits

How to Make Your Spine Stronger

If your spine has already started to weaken, that doesn’t mean that you have to let it go. There are practices that you can follow that will help in building some of that strength back up. Sitting back and doing nothing is only going to lead to more chronic problems and pain in the future. Instead, be proactive in your health, and you will be happy with all the health benefits you see in just a short time.

Practice a better posture. Slouching is going to lead to spine issues and possibly even depression and other health issues like migraines, anxiety, weight gain, and heartburn. Sit up straight!

Energize your body with sunlight. Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones, and that includes the spine. Get around 10 to 20 minutes in the sun each day if you can.

Meditation can have positive effects on your spine, it can improve your mood and posture, and increase your productivity. During meditation you are focusing on your core, which automatically leads to a straighter spine. Ten minutes of meditation each day can lead to vast improvements in your back.

Spine Care Tips to Follow

Along with following a proper diet and exercising regularly, there are other tips that you can follow to keep your back and spine healthy as you age. Instead of sitting back and letting nature take it’s course, do your part to prevent your spine from deteriorating with every passing year.

  • Set up your workstation ergonomically
  • Use your legs and knees when lifting; NOT your back!
  • Get a good night’s sleep – sleep on your side with your legs bent and your knees together
  • Stretch – start your day with a few stretches and make sure to do a few throughout the day as well
  • Watch the scale – excessive weight puts added pressure on your spine and back muscles; stay within a healthy range through proper diet and exercise
  • Drink plenty of water – keep the fluidity and elasticity in your joints as long as possible by drinking at least eight glasses of water per day
  • Stay proactive – if you begin feeling pain or pressure in your back, seek treatment right away; ignoring the problem is only going to make things worse

Visiting a Chiropractor Regularly for Overall Health and Well-Being

77,000 chiropractors treat over 35 million Americans annually in the United States. Why are those numbers so astronomical? Because what these doctors do is working. Chiropractors work in aligning and adjusting your spine so that you can maintain a good posture and prevent future problems as you get older.

 

By providing you with the proper services, you can expect to enjoy an overall healthier and happy life free from back pain and problems. Trust that they can locate and correct any issues with the spine in a non-invasive and holistic way to keep you healthy for many years to come.

About Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells is a graduate of the University of Nevada where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree before moving on to complete his doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College. He founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998. He is passionate about being in the business of Chiropractic in Anchorage and he strives to provide each of his patients with compassionate care for an overall better health and well-being.

Works Cited

About The Brain and Spinal Cord. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2018, from University of Pittsburgh: http://www.neurosurgery.pitt.edu/centers-excellence/neurosurgical-oncology/brain-and-brain-tumors/brain-and-spinal-cord

Degenerative Disc Disease. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2018, from Cedars-Sinai: https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/d/degenerative-disc-disease.html

Ergonomics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2018, from United States Department of Labor: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/index.html

Khalil, R. E., Gorgey, A. S., Janisko, M., Dolbow, D. R., Moore, J. R., & Gater, D. R. (2012, November 30). The Role of Nutrition in Health Status after Spinal Cord Injury. Retrieved September 19, 2018, from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570137/

The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.