Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 8, 2017
Your spinal muscles play an integral role in supporting your vertebrae and the spinal canal, so it’s imperative that you strive to keep them healthy as you age. However, actively working to strengthen these muscles is no easy task. Today, we take a look at four ways your can strengthen your spinal muscles and keep your whole back healthy.
Like any muscle, the best way to strengthen the area is by doing a targeted workout routine. Research some activities that strengthen the spine without overloading it. Routines that involve planks, wall sits, seated rows and any exercises that target your core will help build muscles in these areas. Other lifts like overhead cleans or squats can also strengthen your back, but they may lead to problems if you overstress the spine or use improper techniques, so make sure your form is correct and you slowly build your maximum weight.
Another thing we suggest for any of our patients who are dealing with back pain who could benefit from spinal muscle development is to find an activity that works your spine that doesn’t feel like exercise. Things like a water aerobics class, taking judo classes in the park, cycling with friends or walking your dog all get the muscle groups of your back moving, and because you’re having fun, you don’t really notice the work your body is putting in. Try to find an active activity that challenges your body that doesn’t feel like a standard workout, and you’ll have a stronger spine in no time.
Another simple change that can have a big impact on your spinal muscles is your diet. If your diet is full of saturated fats and condensed sugars, you’re at an increased risk for inflammation in your back and issues like muscle cramps or spasms. Make sure you are getting a range of vitamins and minerals each and every day, and try to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. This will ensure you are staying hydrated, which helps keep muscle groups healthy.
Stretching and Posture Care
Finally, make sure you are taking time to stretch your spinal structures before activity, and mind your posture throughout the day. A number of my patients tell me that they hurt their spine or some of the nearby muscle groups because they jumped straight into activity before stretching, so take a couple of minutes to help transition your muscles into an active state before activity. Also, oftentimes we are doing more damage to our spines in an inactive state than when we’re in an active state, because we’re craning our necks to look down at our phones, bending at the waist to pick something up or sleeping in an awkward position. Mind your posture when you’re sitting on the couch watching TV or laying in bed reading or checking Facebook on your phone. You may be straining key muscles and not even know it, so practice good posture techniques!