Roadtest: Spinal health

Emma McConnell cracks into Spinal Health Week with tips on the best ways to get your back on track.

Keep Moving!

Sedentary behaviour is one of the leading causes of poor spinal health, but luckily there is a simple solution – get moving! Physical inactivity is easily combated with minor changes to your normal routine. Developing an exercise regime is a good place to start. For those with limitations or mobility issues walking or moderate housework is beneficial, however the key to back health is to maintain a routine. Once you’re feeling confident, engage in activities such as yoga, swimming and exercises that focus on developing your core muscles to assist in strengthening your back whilst keeping your body limber.

Understanding Ergonomics

Whilst exercise helps in strengthening the muscles within and around your spine it is important to ensure the correct posture is maintained, especially at work. Office employees are particularly in need of the correct equipment and adjustments to their workstation, otherwise long-term damage may occur. Ensure that both your chair and desk are at an appropriate height for you, and comfortably encourage correct posture. If you work in a corporate environment consider ways to boost your movement at work, such as incorporating ‘walking meetings’ as part of the workplace or perhaps suggesting the option of standing desks.

Starting From The Bottom

A minor change in your footwear can do wonders for your spinal health. Wearing inappropriate or the incorrect type of shoe not only leads to terribly sore feet but can also impact upon your posture, particularly in your lower back. It is important to invest in a well-fitting pair of shoes that supports the arch of your foot, especially if they’re intended for exercise purposes or if you’re wearing them for extensive periods. If you prefer style over comfort then opt for custom orthopaedic insoles to ensure your feet (and back) are as stress-free as possible. And on a side note – ladies, if you love your back please minimise the amount of time you spend in heels!

Preventative Therapy

Understanding your posture and how to improve it is an integral step in maintaining a healthy spine. Visiting your local chiro, osteo or physio and gaining professional advice is essential as everyone’s back health varies and largely depends upon your age and mobility level. Utilising the knowledge and recommendations given to you by your practitioner can be used as a preventative measure, as well as a way to minimise and heal existing conditions. Following such advice will not only keep you moving but will significantly improve both your present and long-term health.