How Healthy Is Your Spine?

Healthy Spine

Healthy Spine

Most of us don’t give that much thought to the health of our spine, but we really should. If you have scoliosis, then you’re probably more in tune with your spine than most people. With more than three million new cases in the U.S. every year, scoliosis is quite common. Not familiar with scoliosis? It’s when the spine is curved sideways. Symptoms include back pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, and uneven hips and shoulders.

Want to keep your spine healthy?Here Are Three Basic Healthy Spine Tips

Lift right. It’s very easy to twist the wrong way and damage your spine if you don’t use proper form when lifting an object. Here’s how to lift correctly, according to NINDS: Stand as close to the object as you can, and use your legs and knees rather than your back or upper body to pull up the item. It will help if you bend your knees so your arms are at the same height as the item. Keep your head down and back straight. If the item is heavy, don’t try to lift it yourself — get help.

Sleep tight. Sleeping well is important to your overall health. Your body needs a good night’s sleep to repair itself. Sleep on your side, not your stomach: Sleeping on your stomach puts too much pressure on your spine. Sleeping on your side also reduces upper airway collapse, helping to prevent sleep apnea symptoms and give you a better night’s rest, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Invest in a supportive mattress as well as a pillow that promotes proper alignment of your neck. Be sure to turn your mattress regularly so that it wears evenly.

Stretch out. Keeping flexible helps maintain normal joint function and a good range of motion. It also reduces the risk of injury. If you start your day with a few good stretches, it can not only be invigorating, but can also promote spinal health.

As with most health conditions, scoliosis can range from mild to very severe. Some patients have one curve (C-shaped curvature) in their spine while others have two curves (S-shaped curvature). Patients with severe scoliosis may even have three or four curves.

Furthermore, there are four types of scoliosis:
infantile (occurs at birth to three years old);
juvenile (occurs between ages 4-9);
adolescent (occurs between ages 10-18); and
adult (18 and older). Scoliosis is manageable, but it’s best to start receiving treatment as soon as it’s detected, especially if the person is 23 or younger. The reason for this is because our bones ossify (a fancy term for “harden”) as we become older.