Helpful Hints for Improved Spinal Health
Caution these notes are intended for use by persons with no diagnosed spinal medical problems. If you are following these notes and you experience pain stop and seek advice from your Health Care Advisor.
Improved Spinal Health involves 3 simple steps, Stress Reduction, Stretching and Strengthening.
Physical and Mental stress cause the muscles and tendons to tighten around the spine and this leads to pain and in extreme cases bone rubbing against bone. Left unattended this tightening of the spine leads to other health problems. The simplest way to reduce stress is a hot soaking bath and or a massage. In extreme cases of stress, anxiety reducing drugs and muscle relaxants can be of assistance. Herbal anxiety reducers like St. Johns Wart and herbal muscle relaxants like lavender, cloves, ginger and lemon grass can also be helpful. Combinations of baths and massages with herbs or drugs give the best results. If you constantly suffer from spinal injuries or get a bad back from specific tasks you need to look at the way you carryout these task so that you do not injure yourself. See more under strengthening.
Stretching can involve both exercises and hanging by the arms with the feet off the ground. It is important when doing spinal stretching exercises that you stretch muscles in both directions. One of the easiest stretching exercises is to lie on your back on a flat surface with the knees up and lift the knees towards the shoulders. This stretches the spine inwards. To stretch the spine outwards lie flat on the stomach and raise the head shoulders and legs upwards. The stretches the spine outwards. This can also be done standing by tightening the muscles of the buttocks and pulling the shoulders back. These two simple exercises should be carried out twice daily. Gradually increase the number of repetitions of each exercise until you can do five in a row of each. Rotation of the spine is important as well. This is achieved by placing the hands on the head behind the neck and gently twisting to the right then the left. By hanging by the arms from a horizontal bar you can stretch the spine and this is a good exercise for office workers to restore the spine to its correct length. It is possible to gently rotate the hips whilst hanging as well. Swimming breaststroke is an excellent exercise for stretching the spine and by swimming in a heated pool you will also get the benefits of a hot bath at the same time. Breaststroke also helps to strengthen the spine. Swimming is the best exercise if you are frail or have long standing spinal problems. It allows you to exercise and stretch in a non weight-loading environment. However where possible combinations of all stretching exercises produces the best results.
The above exercises and swimming will strengthen your spine. As suppleness and flexibility is improved you can increase the number of times you do these exercises. Where you suffer from specific back problems after certain tasks or you injure your spine regularly you need to look at the way you are carrying out these tasks It is important if you fall into this category that you seek professional advice. There are a number of specialist sports medicine clinics that offer specific medical and physiotherapy advice to strengthen specific regions of the spine. It is clearly beyond the capabilities of these notes to cover specific problems.
In general never attempt to lift any object that is more than 10% of your body weight. When lifting bend the knees whilst keeping the back straight and use the big muscles of the legs to raise the weight. Attempt to minimise bending and impact on your spine in your day to day activities.
By following these notes and using Spinal Gel you can improve the health of your spine and feel like a new person.