Only as Old as Your Spine Is Flexible: Seven Practices That Support Spinal Health

Only as Old as Your Spine Is Flexible: Seven Practices That Support Spinal Health

Posted by Eileen Durfee on Jul 13th 2022

As renowned German physical trainer Joseph Pilates once said: “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”

Man Feeling Back Pain

Anybody who's suffered from debilitating back and spinal problems knows the truth of those words. Indeed, the pain, tightness, and ensuing lack of mobility make you feel old before your time! A 25-year old with a tight, unbending back will lack the vitality of a 70-year old whose spine has stayed supple.

The good news is that we can all enjoy spinal health and wellness! With the proper insight and approach, you can gain strength, flexibility, and freedom of movement in your spine that many people would have never thought possible.

Want to experience it for yourself? Let us help! Check out these seven essential practices for enhancing your spinal health.

1. Regular Exercise

Improving your spinal health and wellness shares many similarities to enhancing your general wellbeing. Case and point? The need to exercise!

A central component of a healthy lifestyle, exercising makes you stronger, fitter, suppler, and more flexible and balanced to boot. Take walking, for instance. A low-impact physical activity, it offers each of the aforementioned advantages while keeping you upright and fortifying your core at the same time.

That last bit’s important.

Trust us, core strength is key to a happy back! Assuming you aren’t in too much pain, try doing things like sit-ups, crunches, planks, and glute bridges. They’ll strengthen your abs and lower back muscles, offering extra spinal support in the process.

2. Diet

Eating your way to spinal health and wellness might sound fanciful. But you’d be surprised at the significant role diet plays in this domain. By regulating your caloric intake and consuming enough vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, you’ll:

  1. Lose weight (and have less pressure on your spine as a result), and
  2. Reduce levels of painful inflammation in your body.

With those incentives in mind, try eating a balanced diet that’s free from unhealthy processed foods and excessive amounts of sugar. Consume plenty of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables too, with complex carbohydrates and legumes on your plate. In time, you’re sure to recognize a positive difference in your back (not to mention your overall wellbeing).

3. Massage

Everybody loves the relaxing, stress-relieving effects of getting a massage, right?

Woman Getting Back Massage

For someone with back problems, though, it’s altogether more liberating! A popular adjunct to lower back treatments, massages can reduce pain and tension in the affected areas. As you’d expect, professional massages deliver the best results, but even massage chairs and devices can offer some much-needed relief.

Exercise caution though. Intense, deep-tissue massages may do more harm than good for someone with severe chronic back issues. If you fit that description, we recommend starting with a light-to-moderate massage before attempting anything stronger.

4. Better Seated Posture

When your spine’s already suffering, slouching in your seat only makes matters worse. Even if your back’s in good condition right now, maintaining poor posture can speed up its demise over time. Why?

Because sitting down places added pressure on the discs in your lower spine! Combine that fact with a posture that doesn’t support its natural arches and you’re in for trouble.

Wherever you are, then, strive to sit upright with your shoulders back. At work, lobby your boss for an ergonomic chair and adjust it to fit the curves of your spine. And, more importantly, try to limit how much time you spend in a seated position by standing up, stretching, and going for walks on a regular basis.

5. Sleeping on Firmer Mattresses

A good night’s sleep is another essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Among other things, it’s linked to weight loss, improved focus, and better all-around performance. As far as your spine’s concerned, though, sleep’s also an excellent opportunity for your back to recover from the strain it’s been under all day!

That’s where your mattress comes into play. Wherever possible, try to sleep on a medium-firm spinal health mattress. Softer ones might feel divine to sink into at night, but they don’t offer your back the support it really needs.

6. Better Sleeping Posture

Your mattress isn’t the only factor that impacts your spine throughout the night. The way you position your body does as well!

As you probably know, different people sleep in different positions. Some lay on their back, others on their side, and some on their front. What you may not have heard is that certain sleep positions are better than others when it comes to your back.

Woman Sleeping On Back

In general, front sleeping’s best-avoided for the impact it puts on your neck. Sleeping on your side is a step up, although you could consider using a thicker pillow to keep your head and spine aligned. And the king of all positions is lying flat on your back with a pillow beneath your knees to keep your spine neutral.

7. Proper Lifting Technique

Few things are worse for your spine than improper lifting technique! Huge numbers of people put their backs out like this and end up at the spinal health center each year. They bend forward from the hips, keep their legs straight, grab hold of the item and explode upward in a bid to pick it up.

The correct way to lift items from the ground is to:

  1. Keep your back straight at all times,
  2. Lower yourself to the ground into a squat position by bending your knees, and
  3. Standing back up in a controlled manner, engaging your glutes, and leading from the hips instead of your shoulders.

Remember These Spinal Health and Wellness Practices

Bad backs and spinal injuries have a profound and debilitating impact on life. That’s why it’s so important to protect them at all costs! With any luck, the spinal health and wellness practices in this post will help you do exactly that.

Of course, anybody with spinal issues and injuries should always consult their doctor before attempting these practices! Get the go-ahead from them first to ensure you won’t inadvertently make matters worse.

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