The spine controls the body’s vital functions. Without a healthy spine, day-to-day activities like walking, getting up, bending over can become extremely difficult and painful.
Those at risk: People who are overweight; those with a history of back injury; those lifting heavy objects regularly; sitting for long hours; those with less exposure to the sun.
Back and neck pains are the most common initial symptoms, as also numbness of the hands, weakness in the legs and urinary disturbances.
Tips to maintain a healthy spine:
- Take extra care when lifting weights. Stand close to the object to be lifted, bend only the knees and then lift. The back and the head should be kept straight. Take help if it’s too heavy.
- Workspace Adjustments. Keep a laptop or desktop at eye level. Use furniture, especially chairs that give sufficient support to the lower back. Do not sit for long hours in the same position. Take breaks at regular intervals and change the seating position as and when possible.
- Avoid sleeping on the stomach. For those who sleep sideways, the pillow height should be good enough and should cover the neck to the shoulder-length thereby avoiding the bending of the neck. A thin pillow will be enough for those who sleep on their backs.
- Exercise regularly. Yoga and exercises relax the muscles, helps blood circulation and improves joint flexibility. Normal activities like walking or swimming also help.
- Balanced diet. Vitamin D3, calcium and magnesium are some essential nutrients for bone and muscles. Vitamin D3 is naturally found in foods like curd (yoghurt), fish, soft bones, cod liver oil, and egg yolks. Our body produces Vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight. Have foods containing calcium and magnesium, as in green leafy vegetables, and milk products. Drink water regularly.