Marina Del Rey & Newport Beach, Calif. - October 14, 2016 -- DISC Sports & Spine Center is celebrating World Spine Day (October 16) by spreading the word on the importance of physical activity and improving posture as part of a regular health regime aimed at preventing injury and maintaining good spinal health.
Tapping the expertise of accomplished neurological spine surgeon Dr. Richard B. Kim, DISC Sports & Spine Center is recommending five areas of focus for ensuring a healthy, pain-free spine.
“The theme for this year’s World Spine Day is straighten up and move, which, as simple as it sounds, is exactly what most people need to do,” explains Dr. Kim. “Most adults spend the better part of their day sitting at work, and struggle to get in even 30 minutes of exercise a day. Both of these issues are huge contributors to spine injuries and are fairly easy to avoid.”
Good posture is the best way to ensure a healthy spine. If you have to stand for long periods of time, keep one foot forward of the other, with knees slightly bent, which takes the pressure off of your lower back. When sitting, make sure your knees are slightly higher than your hips for good lower-back support. And if you can’t get up and walk around at the office, at least try alternating between standing and sitting and reevaluate your posture throughout the day. Just simply being aware of your posture can help prevent slouching. Use a step or stool when reaching for things about your shoulder level and, when it comes to moving heavy items, remember pushing is easier on your back than pulling. If your posture is good, the bones of the spine will be correctly aligned.
Exercise daily as your core muscles—your lower back and abdominal muscles—need to be strong and supple in order to support your spine and take pressure off of your lower back. Certain yoga poses can strengthen and stretch core muscle groups and may also be relaxing. In fact, check out the Mayo Clinic website’s 15-minute exercise routine developed specifically to improve spinal health. It incorporates yoga poses with simple stretches that people of all ages can master.
Practice deep breathing, also known as belly breathing, as it encourages full oxygen exchange – incoming oxygen swapped for outgoing carbon dioxide – and can also slow your heartrate and stabilize blood pressure. Think about the slow, steady movements of a sea turtle while inhaling slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth (or your nose, if that feels more natural).
Maintain a healthy weight as additional weight puts a strain on your back. Ideally, try to keep within 10 lbs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back.
Get a good night's sleep and be sure that your mattress and pillows are working to support your spine. Did you know that if you sleep on your belly, your lower back is compressed all night long, and your head and neck are invariably twisting to one or the other side in a fairly extreme manner? Or that sleeping on your back typically puts an additional 55 lbs. of pressure on your back? Slide a couple of pillows under your knees and you cut that pressure in half. Better yet, try to learn to sleep lying on your side with a pillow between your knees to reduce pressure.
If you do experience minor back pain, treat it with anti-inflammatories and gentle stretching, followed by an ice pack. But if pain persists, don’t try to tough it out, consult your physician or orthopedic surgeon immediately.
About DISC Sports & Spine Center
DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) is California’s premier medical group providing the full scope of sports medicine, spinal care, orthopedics, pain management and conservative treatments. DISC has set a new standard for high-acuity, minimally invasive spine surgery and arthroscopy in an outpatient setting, both safely and on a more cost-effective basis. In partnership with Surgical Care Affiliates (SCA), one of the nation’s leading surgical care companies, DISC operates state-of-the-art outpatient surgery centers in Marina Del Rey and Newport Beach. Both centers are accredited by the AAAHC, have a zero MRSA infection rate and are conveniently located next to major freeways and airports. DISC, which accepts most major insurance plans, is also the official medical services provider for Red Bull.