5 Things to Know BEFORE the Good Ol' Back Breaks Down
It’s always AFTER the catastrophe that you hear the advice you needed BEFORE the catastrophe. An example would be driving to my home town in South Australia; you hear that annoying voice telling you where to go on Google Maps, but after many slowdowns to 80km/h and 60km/h you finally arrive. Only after 9 hours of exhausting driving do you find out - NO-ONE goes this way. What I would have given to save that extra hour of driving, to know that information BEFORE I left!
Today I’m going to give you the information you need BEFORE. The things you wish you knew before your back breaks down, rather than after. If you know and apply these 5 things, your back has got a very good chance of NOT breaking down! Believe me, you don’t want a broken down back. It ruins everything, from the fun stuff like going to the gym or playing table tennis, to the boring daily stuff like bending over to brush your teeth or blow-drying your hair. These seemingly menial tasks become incredibly painful - if not impossible - with a non-functioning back. So now’s the time to listen, learn, apply… Here are my pearly words of wisdom for you.
Did you know your couch could be deadly? Well it can. There aren’t many couches that are A-Okay for your back. Most of them push your head forward and offer little to no support for your low back. So, what can you do if you still want to watch those ripper shows on Netflix, and keep your back happy? The best way is to lay on your side on your couch, with a pillow under your head. Sometimes that may not work, because you have other family members fighting for couch spots. What else can you do? Make sure you are sitting as far back into the couch as possible so you don’t round your low back, then elevate your legs. Use a footstool or leg support. This helps to push your low back into the couch and provide more support.
We do know that certain activities put more stress on already painful or deteriorating spinal discs (even healthy discs for that matter). For example, sitting puts more pressure on your discs than lying down or standing. How long you sit and how you sit matter to your back. Sitting, bending, and twisting – positions many of us assume repetitively at the office – put tremendous amounts of pressure on our discs. For people who already have pain related to wear-and-tear on the discs, these positions tend to be the worst.
So get moving people, every 20-30 minutes tops! Get up and annoy someone else for a couple minutes; make them get up too and do some star jumps or running on the spot – make it an office competition. Who can do the most in 60 seconds? Who knows you may start an entire office competition and turn it into something great! And the how you sit, well I personally think a fit ball is great to sit on because you can move around slightly at the desk. But whatever you choose, remember you need 90° between your torso and thighs, 90° between your thighs and shins and also 90° between your shins and feet.
Deterioration (Degeneration / Wear-and-tear / ‘aging process’) doesn’t happen just because you are old. (Your ears should have pricked up a bit then.) That’s right, just because you have gotten over, let’s say 30 years old, that doesn’t mean you should expect ‘the usual’ deterioration. Oldies can have NO degeneration yet children’s spine can still have it! If you are out of alignment and not moving properly, deterioration will occur. This can be at ANY AGE. If you are stressing out an already imbalanced joint or disc in your spine it makes sense things will change/ deteriorate/ get worse independent of your age.
Have your spine’s alignment checked early (yes, as a child is a good idea!), then KEEP IT ALIGNED. (By the way, deterioration often happens quietly; you may not be experiencing any pain, yet still deteriorating. Having your spine checked for alignment whether you are in pain or not simply makes sense!)
We all know smoking is a serious health risk, but did you know smokers are also more likely to experience back pain than non-smokers? Nicotine restricts the blood flow to the spinal discs causing them to dry out, crack, or rupture. (It’s as bad as it sounds!) Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the muscles and tendons in the back. This means your back is now more susceptible to injuries and being pulled out of alignment (That’s not good if you were wondering). Smoking and a healthy back don’t go together.
Your back is vulnerable when you are young and growing. If you have a smack down when you are playing footy at 14 years of age, or fall onto your backside in netball at 12 years of age, these small events could turn out to be big things later. When you are growing, your gains in bone area happen before your gains in bone mineral content. In simpler terms, bones grow bigger quickly without getting stronger until later. My suggestion is to have your children’s spines checked regularly. By keeping them in great alignment they will stay straight, grow well and keep injury free… and be less grumpy. Everyone wins!
AFTER reading these 5 things, it’s pretty obvious that you should get your spine checked BEFORE things get worse! At House of Chiropractic, we fix spines of all ages. You are welcome to give us a call on 6009 0999 to book in. We would love to check you and your families backs! Here’s to happy and healthy spines for years to come…