That statement might seem simplistic, but when you consider the large number of people who suffer from daily aches and pains, it’s not a bad idea to get a little reminder.
Oh sure, every Chiropractor on the planet will tell you that your spine needs regular adjustments to be in good shape. And research proves it is good for you. But real back health is not that simple. A healthy spine really entails much more than just an occasional crunch and crackle. Being in alignment requires that all parts of your life be balanced – mentally, emotionally and physically. For now, let’s focus on the physical influences on alignment.
Good Posture is a Must
No, I am not nagging, and I realize it has been covered before but let’s just do a quick review of posture 101. It’s that important.
Good posture is so much more than sitting and standing up straight. Our body craves good alignment. When it is right, the bones (not the muscles) support our weight, and as a result, the muscle fatigue and strain that leads to everything from headaches and back pain to digestive troubles and insomnia are reduced.
For most of the Express Chiropractic Clients, the focus should be trying to remember to keep your head back over your shoulders and your chest and shoulders back over your hips while you are sitting at your desk and standing.
Another great way to think about it is pretend there is a wire attached to the top of your head and it is attached to a pully in the sky. That pully is always giving you a little tug straight up towards the sky. Stand up and try this… you will get taller and straighter.
Just Move It!
Remember, “Motion Is Life.” If you want to know how important motion is, just ask someone who wakes up one morning with a frozen shoulder or a locked up neck or back. If our mobility changes then the ability to do daily tasks may become a painful nightmare. These problems sneak up on you slowly and silently.
When motion in one part of the body becomes difficult or stops, another part of the body must pick up the load. This leads to a vicious cycle of inflammation and pain in both parts affected. It’s all connected. When you stub your toe, where do the tears come out?
So you have got to make a commitment to get your move On! Even if it is just walking briskly for 30 minutes and stretching for 15 minutes, three days a week. At least it is something!
Muscles are like guidewires that are keeping a tall antenna (your spine) upright – pointing towards the sky. If one of the wires becomes weak, the antenna will lean to one side and eventually collapse.
Most of us have some strength, but the muscles don’t have the correct tension balance. When one set of muscles are in continuous use, the opposing muscles of balance can get progressively weaker causing poor posture and spinal misalignment and of course eventually pain.
The best way to keep these stabilizing muscles at their correct tension level is not only by stretching but also by strengthening them. At a minimum, you have to ensure you are doing crunches, back extensions, push-ups and wall squats (ask us to show you if you’re not sure on any of these)
Now that I have your attention. The final tip has to do with balance. Wikipedia (yes, I know the website stinks and is not very accurate, but I used it for this article for convenience) defines balance as “a desirable point between two or more opposing forces.”
As we go about our daily “speed of life” there are a large number of forces trying to pull us out of our equilibrium. For most, it is long hours of sitting stagnant with minimal movement, and high stress with no decompression time.
You MUST at least attempt to do the opposite of what work, kids, and other life factors demand of you for at least 20% of your day. Allow one posture or factor to dominate all the time and it’s a one-way ticket to Painsville. All Aboard!!
As you can see spine health is simple, ISN’T IT! It’s important that we all pay attention daily to each of the four tips above. Maintain good posture, keep moving, stay strong, and pay attention to life balance.
In future articles, we will get down to the nitty-gritty on each of these areas and try to keep the tips quick and easy to read so you can get the most out of it possible.