Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 6, 2016
We all have bad habits. Whether you bite your fingernails or drink too much coffee, everyone has some habits they’d like to kick. Some of these bad habits aren’t physically damaging, but others can knowingly and unknowingly take a toll on our spine. Today, we take a look at five bad habits that are harming your spine, and we discuss some ways to kick these habits.
Most smokers want to kick the habit, but that’s easier said than done. Smoking causes a number of health issues, like increasing a person’s risk of lung cancer and stroke, but it also harms the spine. Smoking damages blood vessels that bring healthy blood to the spinal structures, and the damage from smoking can decrease spinal disk height, which can contribute to pinched nerves and herniated discs. Kick the habit and your whole body – spine included – will benefit from it.
Our cell phones are so damaging to our spines that a new term has blossomed – text neck. This refers to pain in the cervical spine as a result of leaning your head forward to look at your phone and send a text. It’s probably unlikely that you are going to quit texting cold turkey, and we’re not asking you, but when you are texting, please keep your phone out of your lap. If it’s down there, you’ll naturally be leaning forward and stressing your spine. Hold it more out in front of you and keep your head positioned over your shoulders when using your phone.
Everyone needs to sleep, so sleeping itself isn’t the problem, but what you’re sleeping on may be an issue. If your mattress is over eight years old, it’s probably not providing your spine with the equal support it needs. If it’s time to invest in a new mattress, test a few out and find something that’s not too soft or too firm. Ultimately, the best choice is the one that feels most comfortable to you, but if you aim for a middle ground when it comes to firmness, your spine will have a better chance of being cushioned and supported each night.
Whether you’re slouched over at your desk trying to balance the budget or studying notes while preparing for tomorrow’s midterm, if you’re leaning forward the stress of your head if being displaced on your spine. Similar to when you’re texting, try to keep your head positioned above your shoulders and your spine in a vertical line. This will ensure any stress is equally distributed throughout your spine.
Exercise has whole body benefits, but it’s especially important for your spine. That’s because your spine is a delicate and intricate structure, and it benefits from the ability to receive healthy blood flow and from strengthening of supporting muscles and structures. Oftentimes the first course of treatment for a spinal condition is regular exercise, so why not get some exercise to help prevent a problem with your spine instead of exercising to treat a spinal issue?