By considering the health of your spine to be a ‘barometer of your overall musculoskeletal health’, you can quite accurately predict your future musculoskeletal health prospects, providing there are no chronic organic conditions impacting on your health.
When we consider the spine, we are evaluating four main aspects:
- Bone Density
We were beautifully designed to move - not to sit all day - therefore we really do need to consciously stretch all of the joints in our bodies, especially our spines through a full range of motion every day.
- lateral flexion
Not only is flexibility of your vertebral column important in keeping your spine fully functional but also for the health of your blood and lymph vessels and your internal organs. It will also help your breathing and thereby give you more efficiency of breath.
Your ‘core’ should be strong at all times and it is important that you learn how to engage it especially when required to exert strength. Your spine should be positioned in neutral at all times for easy engagement of your ‘core’. Your ‘core’ consists of your diaphragm at the top; your 4 layers of abdominal muscles at the front and back where they join onto your spine; your pelvic floor muscles underneath. The long extensor muscles of your back also need to be well toned together with the small muscles between your vertebrae.
Alignment is what we control when we become aware of our posture. Posture refers to the position you are holding your body in whilst moving, sitting, standing, sleeping, driving etc. To achieve good posture you will require:
- Good muscle flexibility
- Good ROM in the all weight-bearing joints
- Strong postural muscles
- A balance of muscles on both sides of the spine
- Awareness of your own posture, plus awareness of ideal posture leads to conscious correction
With practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, walking, lying, driving etc. will gradually replace your old postures.
Bone development occurs in three general phases coinciding with age: growth, modeling or consolidation, and remodeling. The remodeling phase predominates during adulthood, with bone resorption and formation activities constantly occurring in linked succession.
The density of your vertebrae will naturally decrease with lack of use but there is no reason why your vertebrae should become really weak. We can prevent loss of bone density through understanding the body’s need for minerals and exercise to maintain the reservoir of minerals, which can de drawn upon for healing. As our bone cells are constantly renewing, every 12 years we have a completely new set of bones. Therefore we have the ability to move up the T-Score scale from Osteopenic to Normal or even, Osteoporotic to Osteopenic.
How should I eat to help my spinal vertebrae?
What you need is adequate sources of protein, fats, minerals and vitamins. Most important is Sunshine which is essential for Vitamin D production.
How do I exercise to help my spinal vertebrae?
What you need to do is weight-bearing exercises combined with quick directional change exercises — all on a regular basis. Aerobic exercise is also very important.
You have complete control over your spinal health and ageing with choices you make daily on what to focus.
Focus on your spine and your health will improve.