The spine’s anatomy may be complex, but it contains a sophisticated system of bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Think of the spine like the internet in which the nerves provide the connections. They flow everywhere from the tips of the toes up to the brain. The nerves also branch out on the sides of the spine. These provide the sensation to the arms, hands, fingers, legs, and toes.
The long, skinny S-shaped spine holds the body upright and provides support in its many activities including twisting and bending. With many moving parts and components in the spine, one problem can cause chronic neck or back pain. The pain could be caused by spinal stenosis. It could be caused by degenerative disc disease. Or it could be caused by any of many conditions.
Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce the chances of experiencing back or neck pain.
- Strengthen your core
A strong core isn’t just for building six-pack abs. Doing core exercises strengthens the muscles in your back and abs. It helps relieve some of the stress on the lower back. While you can find many exercises on the internet, talking with a healthcare provider can help you ensure you do the right exercises for you.
- Sit properly
Believe it or not, the discs in the lower spine take on more pressure while sitting than standing. That’s why people’s backs and legs hurt after sitting for a long time. While working on computers, humans have a tendency to lean forward and slouch. It’s worth researching and investing in a good office chair that supports the curves in the back. Also, add a footrest to ensure your legs remain at a 90-degree angle.
You not only want to sit properly but also get up and walk around every hour. Some fitness watches and phone apps can remind you to do that every hour.
- Rest the spine while sleeping
After working hard all day to support the body, the spine needs a good night’s rest. The first step in resting the spine is to have a firm or medium-firm mattress. A soft mattress doesn’t give the spine the proper support it needs.
Depending on the position you sleep in, you can further reduce the stress on the back with a simple tip. Back sleepers, put a pillow under the knees. Side sleepers, place the pillow between the knees. This maintains balance in the hips. A neck pillow is optional. But if you’d like to explore that, test different pillows to see which best supports your cervical spine.
These may sound like small tips, but they can ease the stress on your spine and may help alleviate some of the pain.
Have a question? Please contact us or call 214-823-2052. We have two conveniently located offices in Addison and Dallas serving patients in Dallas, Addison, Plano, Frisco, Garland, and other cities in the DFW metroplex.