Consider how many of your daily movements involve the spine. From turning your head back and forth when you check the street for traffic, to sitting upright at your desk and typing on a keyboard, the spine provides the structural support for our body and also protects the spinal cord, which is the nerve center of the body.
If you currently experience neck or back pain that is a result of herniated disc, bulging disc, spinal stenosis, or any other degenerative condition, it is imperative that you make a conscious effort to protect and support your spine throughout the day.
Taking Care of Your Spine
Below are a few tips that can help you achieve a strong, healthy spine.
- Choose ergonomic office chairs that offer support for the lower back.
- Be careful when participating in recreational sports that might cause or aggravate back pain.
- Take part in activities that focus on stretching the muscles in the back, such as yoga, Pilates, and other low-impact cardiovascular activities.
- Never overexert yourself by lifting objects that are too heavy.
- Whether sitting or standing, practice good posture.
- Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Conservative Treatments for Back or Neck Pain
Once you have implemented lifestyle changes that focus on spine health, work with your doctor to develop a plan of conservative, non-operative treatment for any remaining symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, pain, or weakness that could be the result of bone spurs, arthritis of the spine, disc protrusion, or prolapsed disc. These treatments might include over-the-counter or prescription analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, periodic cortisone injections, and hot-cold therapy.
As a general rule of thumb, always stay active and stay hydrated. Limit your intake of foods that are high in saturated fat and high fructose corn syrup, while increasing your consumption of fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Never attempt any course of diet or exercise without the supervision of a physician.