4 Guidelines to a Healthy Spine, Healthy Life

By Dr. Molly Casey

Heathy Active Woman

Experts have debated forever as to which habits are best for the spine, and often the arguments go in circles. I’m going to break it down to four simple rules to great spinal health, which will make life a lot easier; when you feel great, and your body works great, you perform better at home, at work, and socially. Basically, it’s the recipe for a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Get Regular Chiropractic Adjustments

Regular chiropractic adjustments are the foundation to the health of the spine. You are able to move because your spine allows it. When your spine doesn’t move properly, you can’t move properly. The spine protects the functioning of the nervous system. When the spine doesn’t move properly, the nervous system doesn’t function properly and you’re not as healthy as you can be. In my professional opinion, regular chiropractic adjustments constitute no less than one adjustment every two to four weeks. Such regular care can increase optimal performance of the nervous system and the immune system while providing optimal range of motion for better physical function.

Hydrate

Most folks in our society don’t drink enough water. The human body is made up of 60 percent water. We need to hydrate appropriately for proper function. The spinal discs (the sac of fluid between each vertebrae) are comprised of mostly water. When you don’t hydrate sufficiently and the joints don’t move properly, the discs shrink in size; think of these discs as grapes (healthy) or raisins (unhealthy). Your spinal movement and overall health is significantly dependent upon the health of these discs. Drink half your weight in ounces of water daily. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water each day.

Strengthen

In order to strengthen the spine, the most important group of muscles that must be strengthened is the core. The core refers to the internal abdominal muscles, the deepest spinal muscles, and the muscle at the floor of the pelvis. The core muscles are those that provide the greatest amount of stability for the spine. Even one minor injury to the low back can cause these muscles to be weakened significantly. The core is often very weak because of improper muscle firing due to prolonged sitting and lack of movement. Strengthening the core is hard work. No matter what level of care you now render your spine, you can always improve with basic core spinal exercises, such as the ones shown in this article.

Stretch

Spend time lengthening your spine and the associated muscles. Stretch often. The practice of stretching doesn’t need to be a long, arduous process. You can build in two-minute stretching sessions while sitting at your computer, or you can stand and stretch in a doorway while talking with a co-worker or taking a phone call. Stretch first thing in the morning; when you get out of bed, do a full reach to the sky and fold over to the ground. If you watch your dog when it gets up in the morning, what does it do? It stretches. Dogs do what we call in yoga, Downward-Facing Dog and Upward-Facing Dog -- for real. It’s good for them and it’s good for us. Let’s remember to do it.

Health can get really complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. Keep these four simple rules as part of your regular routine and you and your health will benefit. If you’re looking for improved function, better performance and a healthier, more active lifestyle, create a happier and healthier spine.

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