Our spines do such a good job of holding us up, it’s easy to take them for granted. But the spine links every part of the skeleton together, and protects our spinal cord — a key component of our central nervous system. Simply put, backing up our backbone is one of the most essential preventative care measures we can take.
Here’s how you can look out for your spine, regardless of your age.
One of the best ways to tend to a child’s spine is to monitor the weight and positioning of their backpack when going back to school. Keeping them regularly active will be another terrific boost to their spines, as well. Also, regular doctor’s checkups help monitor muscle pain, potential fractures, or disc herniation on a case-by-case basis.
If you’re physically active and accident-free through childhood, there are few spine problems you may experience as a teenager. But adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (occurring between the ages of 10 and 18) is one thing to look out for.
Idiopathic scoliosis is the most common form of scoliosis, and usually worsens during the adolescent years, while the skeleton is reaching full maturity. The forward bend test is often used to diagnose the presence of scoliosis, but your doctor can also determine it using X rays and physical exams. The success of treatment depends upon early detection, and the severity of the spine’s curve, but even for patients with large curves, surgical treatment can be highly successful.
In the midst of establishing career success, growing a potential new family, and navigating social changes, young adults may place new stresses and strains on their spines. For example, sitting for more than 7 hours in one position during the workday can negatively impact your back health.
Young adults may also want to incorporate some regular yoga into their routine in order to protect their spines into the future. Yoga can decrease both physical and mental stress, as well as strengthen and stretch muscles to prevent pain long-term.
As we age, there are a variety of reasons why spine pain may require attention. Determining the cause will help create the cure, so it’s important at this time of life to have a close relationship either with your primary care physician, a pain specialist, or both.
Family history, lifestyle habits, recent injury, or chronic conditions may all come into play when it comes to spine pain, so there isn’t a single cure-all for this condition. But if you aren’t exercising regularly, are overweight, or need to introduce a more healthful diet, now’s a crucial time to start incorporating these changes for your spine health.
After sixty, osteoporosis may become a concern, especially for women. To ensure your whole skeleton (including your spine) is healthy and strong, consider a bone mineral density test to assess the porousness (and therefore fragility) of your bones.
Adding Vitamin D and calcium supplements may also help increase bone strength at this time, but consult with your doctor before doing so. Weight-bearing exercises and activities for added balance may also build musculoskeletal strength, so long as they do not add to the risk of injury or strain.
Regardless of your age, our award-winning team cares about the strength of your spine from top to bottom. To craft the ideal plan for your spine, book appointment with us online or call 770-929-9033.