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October Is Spinal Health Month

spineThe month of October is designated as spinal health month. This means it’s a good time to focus on the importance of spinal health and what we can do to enhance and maintain the health of our spine.

Back pain is one of the leading causes of missed days from work and a major health issue in this country. The data shows that those with back pain are twice as likely to be in poor health as those who do not have pain. Downhearted feelings are also more common in those with back pain and these people tend to be less active. Those with back pain are less likely to be working and statistically spend more days in bed. This is not a picture of someone living their life to its fullest potential!

Yet, good spinal health is about much more than just pain. Our spine is literally our lifeline-housing and protecting our nerve system. Poor spinal health will result in interference to the nerve system which controls all functions of our body. We live our life through our nerve system. Everything we think, experience or do is processed through our nerve system. Without exception, the activity of each organ in the body is coordinated by the nerve system. This is why good spinal health is so vital to our overall health and well-being.

So, what’s the best way to ensure optimal spinal health? The answer is two-fold: Care for your spine and don’t trash it!

How do we “trash” our spine? By ignoring it; through poor postural habits; by not listening to it when it ‘speaks’ to us. By lifting or carrying more than we should be carrying or by doing either improperly. We trash it when we have an accident or injury and let it heal improperly or misaligned. We also trash our spine by not caring for it.

Repetitive motions can also have a very damaging effect on our spine. Doing the same motions over and over again overdevelop one set of muscles. So, it’s important to try to balance out the muscles as much as we can. If you do one sided motions like in sports-tennis, golf, etc or when chopping wood, it’s important to stretch those muscles out and balance out the other muscles by training them as well.

Sitting for extended periods causes significant postural imbalances. Our back rounds, chest caves in, head goes forward, hip flexors tighten and core weakens. Not a great recipe for good spinal health! The good thing is this trend can be reversed! Take periodic breaks to get up and stretch. Set up your work station so that you maintain good spinal posture-upright; shoulders back; not twisted; eyes forward and level; arms and wrists in a comfortable neutral position.

Exercising and keeping your core and spinal muscles strong and balanced is also a key to good spinal health. Without focused effort, we rarely move our spines through their full range of motion. Exercises which strengthen your core and spinal muscles include yoga, QiGong, tai chi, pilates, and focused calisthenics. We encourage you to try our “Straighten Up” Exercises-a brief daily regimen of movement designed to help you maintain good spinal hygiene.

Of course, getting adjusted on a regular basis is the best thing you can do for good spinal and nerve system health. Subluxations left uncorrected cause the spine to work improperly and negatively affect the surrounding bone, muscles and ligaments. Even more seriously, the nerve system is negatively impacted by spinal dysfunction. That affects every level of your health and well-being.

So, for the month of October, let’s focus on doing less of those things which “trash” our spinal health and doing more of those things which enhance our spinal health and well-being.

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