8 Tips to Keep Your Spine Healthy and Strong

March 1, 2019
It's essential to give your spine a lot of attention and adopt healthy habits that will keep it strong and tension-free. Learn how below!

The spine is a complex structure that is responsible for supporting your body. It holds and supports your head and runs through the neck and back and ends at your pelvis.

It is composed of vertebrae, discs, and a spinal cord. These, in turn, act as a communication conduit for the brain through the nervous system.

Because of this, a displacement of vertebrae or an injury, however minimal, becomes an obstacle when it comes to the signals reaching their destination.

As a result, this causes strong aches and pains. In more serious cases, it alters the person’s breathing as well as their senses, like touch.

For this reason, it’s essential to give your spine a lot of attention and adopt healthy habits that will keep it strong and tension-free.

In this article, we want to share 8 good recommendations that you can put into practice every day to avoid developing spinal diseases or injuries.

1.  Exercise regularly

woman doing exercise

Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to strengthen the spine and take care of its health. These activities help you maintain a stable weight.

However, they also focus on stretching the joints to reduce stiffness or tension. It’s, of course, necessary to combine cardiovascular workouts with strength exercises to have more benefits.

2. Improve your body posture

A good body posture, both when walking and when resting, is determinant to preventing the development of diseases or injuries in the spine.

This is because it facilitates weight distribution and therefore keeps the vertebrae and discs in their correct position. The trauma, tension, and pains that occur in this area of the body often have a lot to do with poor posture.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

woman holding a pink, weight scale

Being overweight and obese are two very dangerous conditions for muscle and joint health. This is because they involve more physical exertion, tension, and pain.

Fat accumulation, especially in the abdominal area, increases the likelihood of spinal injury or stiffness in the back muscles.

Being overweight and obese is also associated with problems such as disc herniation and premature wear of the cartilage that protects the bone system.

4. Have a healthy diet

The consumption of healthy food plays a very important role in the health of the spine and all body systems. In this special case, the consumption of calcium and vitamin D, two key nutrients that conserve bone strength and density, should be increased.

Of course, it’s also important to consume healthy sources of protein, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients that keep bones and joints in good condition.

5. Avoid smoking

woman breaking a cigarette in half

The toxins that cigarettes contain are related to the development of a wide variety of diseases that affect a person’s quality of life.

These substances travel through the bloodstream and directly affect the health of cells and tissues. Their accumulation in the body is linked to the risk of suffering from spinal problems and conditions.

6. Strengthen your abdominal muscles

Strengthening your abdominal and lower back muscles provides many health benefits to the spine.

Some people think the abdominal area has nothing to do with the spine. However, it provides support to the body and helps reduce the burden of weight on the back.

On the other hand, strong abdominal muscles are like a natural “girdle” around the body. This is because in addition to improving your figure, it provides excellent support for your spine.

See also: 6 Abdominal Exercises You’ll Enjoy Doing at Home

7. Take breaks and stretch

woman stretching

Those who have to work several hours in front of a computer screen or any other device should try to take time out of their day to stretch their body.

Even if you have great posture, staying in the same position for a long time usually causes tension and stress on the spine.

Fortunately, stretches help to relax the muscles and contribute to having stronger and more flexible vertebrae.

Read this article: The 9 Best Stretches to Stay In Shape

8. Manage Stress

Among the many negative effects of stress, it’s worth mentioning that it also has consequences on spinal health.

Hence, people who are continuously subjected to stressful situations often feel more pain in their back, neck, and shoulders.

In addition, this emotional state can interfere with the activity of the nervous system and can lead to other imbalances.

As you can see, the habits that help you take care of this area of the body are very easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. However, it’s necessary to practice them regularly before developing any type of trauma or problem.

Chiu, T. T. W., Lam, T.-H., & Hedley, A. J. (2004). A Randomized Controlled Trial on the Efficacy of Exercise for Patients With Chronic Neck Pain. SPINE. http://doi.org/00007632-200501010-00027 [pii]

Glassman, S. D., Anagnost, S. C., Parker, A., Burke, D., Johnson, J. R., & Dimar, J. R. (2000). The effect of cigarette smoking and smoking cessation on spinal fusion. In Spine. http://doi.org/10.1097/00007632-200010150-00011

Sands, W. A., McNeal, J. R., Penitente, G., Murray, S. R., Nassar, L., Jemni, M., … Stone, M. H. (2016). Stretching the Spines of Gymnasts: A Review. Sports Medicine. http://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0424-6