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The Ultimate Guide to Self-care for Spinal Health

19 January 2023

Many of us brush our teeth every night, go to the gym regularly, and wear sunscreen to protect our skin from harmful rays. But you’ll rarely hear anybody talk about the measures they take to protect their spine in the long term.

Spinal health is a massively overlooked part of overall physical health, but it’s just as important - if not more important - than other body parts we tend to prioritise instead.

In fact, 540 million people around the world are affected by back pain at any given time, and it’s one of the most common reasons for missing work.  

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are simple steps you can take or routines you can add to your daily life to ensure spinal health not just now, but in the future, too. Here are our top tips for adding spinal self-care into your daily routine.

1. Invest in Spine-friendly Furniture

If you are somebody who sits at a desk all day, that furniture can be crucial to your long-term spinal health. Sitting in a chair that doesn’t support your back or sitting at the wrong angle can be the difference between experiencing ongoing back pain and enjoying a healthy, hardy spine well into your 80s.

Consider replacing your current office chair with an ergonomic chair. Ergonomic chairs are specifically designed for maximum comfort and efficiency. This doesn’t just apply when you’re sitting at the desk, but also in the rest of your daily life, with the effects of sitting at a desk impacting your general health.

2. Try Yoga

Yoga is regularly cited as a remedy for back pain - and for good reason. Not only does this popular style of exercise promise mental health benefits such as reduced stress, but it’s also great for your body.

For starters, yoga strengthens many muscles in your body, including those that support your back. Not to mention that the many stretches involved in yoga poses help to soothe backs that are feeling sore, as well as improving your overall flexibility.

To get the most out of your yoga practice, take it slowly, and do a modified, easier version of poses you find particularly difficult. Challenging yourself too much when it comes to yoga can worsen back pain or lead to injury, so take the yoga at your own pace.

If you’re new to yoga, sign up for a class (you can find them in-person or online) or search YouTube for yoga videos you can do from the comfort of your front room.

3. Stretch Regularly

Few of us stretch regularly, but this type of movement should form an important part of your weekly, if not daily, life. Stretching the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine is important for your current and future health.

The benefits of stretching include reducing tension in the muscles supporting your spine, improving your range of motion and general mobility, and reducing the risk of disability that can be caused by chronic pain.

If your back pain is particularly bad, consult a physiotherapist for an expertly-created routine.

4. Reevaluate Your Posture

Many of us walk around and sit with poor posture without even noticing. When you feel yourself slouching, with your shoulders rolling forward and your back going into a hunch, take a minute to roll your shoulders back and open your chest.

The more you can remain in this posture while sitting down and standing, the less strain you’ll put on your back, and the less likely you are to develop long-term spinal health problems.

5. Stand When Possible

Sitting constantly makes it almost impossible to maintain neutral spine alignment. The more we sit, the more strain it can put on our spine, so stand as frequently as possible.

If you work at a desk, set a reminder to stand at least once every hour. If you can’t stand, make sure your desk chair is ergonomic. Another effective but simple solution is to invest in a standing desk or a desk that fits a treadmill underneath.

That way, you’ll be able to stand (or walk) while working, helping your spine to maintain a neutral alignment while enjoying the benefit of daily walking.

Final Thoughts

Spinal health should never be overlooked as part of keeping your body generally fit and healthy. The good news is, even if you’ve neglected your spinal health up until this point, small changes can make a huge difference.

Start with re-assessing your desk set-up. Purchase high-quality ergonomic furniture that will not only make your long days at work more comfortable, but will support your productivity, too.