With over 120 muscles and 220 individual ligaments, the spine is a vital part of the human body with many different functions. It enables us to move and bend, it gives us protection of our central nervous system and provides support for our head and neck. In addition, our nervous system runs impulses up and down the spine meaning a damaged spinal cord can affect neural responses, disabling sensations in parts of our body. Without our spines working properly, our quality of life would greatly deteriorate, not being able to enjoy certain activities due to hindered mobility and constant pain.
Spinal problems can start as early as 20 years old and can be caused due to sport injuries or bad posture. In the United States, 80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. Thus, it is important to take good care of your spine in a number of ways.
A simple programme that focuses on stretching and strengthening the back, hamstrings and abdominal muscles helps distribute nutrients into your spinal discs and soft tissues, keeping your muscles, ligaments and joints healthy.
Mindful Meditation. Some studies have shown that meditation is an effective tool for fighting chronic back pain.
The spine has a series of natural curves and if your typical sitting posture does not support these natural curves, you may damage your sensitive spinal nerves. If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, take time to make sure your chair and desk are ergonomically aligned to support your spine. If possible, consider working at a stand up desk or sitting on an exercise ball for a period of time. Also, stretching and walking around every half hour can be beneficial.
Walking strengthens the core muscles that keeps our bodies upright and strengthens our bone structure, improving flexibility and nourishing spinal structures.
When you lie down to sleep, you want a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. For example, if you sleep on your side, you will need a thicker pillow to ensure your neck and head are positioned in the middle of your body.
Try limiting your diet mostly to foods you would find in nature (vegetables, fruits, meats, whole grains, etc) as it plays an important role in maintaining the health of your spine. Furthermore, eating foods high in calcium can help strengthen your bones and prevent spinal problems like osteoporosis.
This reduces the downward stress of gravity as the buoyancy of water helps to support your spine, reducing the risk of injury during certain exercises.
Smoking increases the likelihood of developing degenerative spinal disorders and back pain.
All this information is useful to share with your clients if you are a complementary therapist. If you are thinking in training in a therapy you probably found us by searching for anatomy and physiology courses. Do call us on 0203 553 1060 if you would like more information.
"I'll be sad when this anatomy and physiology course is over if I'm honest, I'm loving it!"
- Sally Hansen -
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