Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 26, 2020
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most Minnesotans are going to be staying at home for the next few weeks or months. When you’re stuck at home, it can be easy to sit on the couch all day, but how you do so is important for your spine health. Below, we share some tips for caring for your spine at home.
Preventing Spine Problems From Extended Sitting
Extended periods of inactivity and sitting may not sound like a stressful experience on your spine, but it certainly can be. If your spinal muscles and ligaments are tasked with remaining in the same position and holding the same stress patterns for long periods, they can weaken and become susceptible to injury. Inactivity also inhibits healthy blood flow throughout your body, and your spine needs all the healthy blood it can get to function properly. So if you want to take in some sports on television and still keep your spine healthy, consider these tips.
- Regularly move – Make sure you’re getting up and moving around at least a few times per hour. This will help to shift how stress is dispersed on your spine and help increase blood flow throughout your body. Whether you’re nervously pacing because of the game or you just want to help take pressure off your spine, make it a point to get up and move throughout the day.
- Mind Your Seat – You might have a comfy recliner or your favorite spot on the sofa, but make sure that your spot is helping and not hurting your spine. If you’re really sinking into the spot, it’s tough to get out of or you’re putting pillows behind your back for extra support, consider finding another spot to sit. Poor sitting locations can put even more pressure on your lumbar spine, which can lead to spine pain even sooner. Mind your posture and your sitting position when watching sports.
- Watch What You Eat – Don’t pair inactivity with a diet of wings and beer, because these items only lead to a higher likelihood of spinal inflammation and weight gain. Inflammation in the spine can compress key structures and cause nerve pain, while weight gain means your spine is tasked with bearing more stress with each step you take. Mind your diet to help protect your spine.
- Exercise – If you’re going to be relatively inactive for an extended period of time, make sure you also set aside some time to specifically be active. Before the game starts, go for a run or hit the gym. Exercise helps to strengthen key spinal groups that help to prevent injury and help the area handle stress. Help combat excessive inactivity by making sure you’re also strengthening your body at other points throughout the day.
- Treat Problems – If your spine is sore or you notice that you’re dealing with a new pain in your back, actively treat the problem. Don’t just keep doing the same things and hope it goes away on its own, because odds are it will only get worse. Consider some conservative care options like rest, ice/heat, exercise, stretching or physical therapy, and mind the above tips as well. If pain is significant, consider getting a diagnosis from a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi.
For more tips, or for help with your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.