Your spinal discs play a crucial role in helping to facilitate movement in your spine, but because of all the stress they handle on a daily basis, they can slowly start to erode. Some of this degeneration is natural, and it occurs extremely slowly over the years as you age. It’s not ideal, but it’s simply a product of getting older and putting strain on your body over the years.
With that said, we want to avoid speeding up this disc erosion as much as possible. Disc degeneration can occur faster for a number of reasons, and we want to highlight some of those factors and discuss some degeneration prevention techniques in today’s blog.
Here are a number of ways you can work to prevent spinal disc degeneration as you get older.
1. Exercise – It may seem like the stress from exercise could cause your spinal discs to wear down faster, and while that can be true if you’re overloading with poor exercise choices, activity is actually great for your spinal discs. Exercise strengthens key areas of your spine and your whole body that helps to displace stress. The better equipped your body is to handle and displace stress, the less pressure your spinal discs will have to undertake.
2. Weight Management – Your weight is also another source of pressure for your spinal discs. The more weight you’re carrying around, the more weight your spinal discs will have to shoulder. Work to maintain a healthy weight as you age to help take excess pressure off your spinal discs.
3. Posture Awareness – Poor posture can take its toll on your spinal discs. If you’re regularly slouching or hunched forward at your desk, the discs in your lumbar and cervical spine will be exposed to more stress. Be mindful of your posture when you’re seated, and also strive to use proper lifting and bending techniques when moving objects. Overworking your spine when lifting and moving objects can stress discs and even cause them to bulge or herniate.
4. Don’t Smoke – Your spinal discs function the best when they get a consistent supply of healthy blood, an smoking can significantly impact this blood supply. Smoking can cause blood vessels to shrink and make it harder for your discs to get the nutrients and oxygen they need to remain healthy. Give up smoking if you want to give your spinal discs the best chance at remaining healthy.
5. Vitamin Intake – Finally, as you get older, it’s especially important that your diet incorporates all the daily vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function at the highest level. Ensure you’re getting nutrients from all key food groups, and talk to your doctor about supplements if you’re showing any deficiencies. Not only can diet help you maintain a healthy weight, but it can help your body thrive by providing it with the right nutrients.
And if you’re having any spinal disc or general back pain, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office to get set up with a treatment plan today.