The new year is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to think about some of the healthy changes we want to make in 2020. When you’re thinking about your resolutions for this new year, we challenge you to keep your spine in mind. Below, we share some tips for helping protect and strengthen your spine in the new year.
Here are some things you can do in the new year to help ensure your spine stays healthy.
1. Limit Screen Time – We rely on our phones and our computers to do a lot of things, but we need to be cognizant about how often we’re in front of a screen. If you’re staring down at your phone or you’re hunched forward at your work computer, you’ll be putting excess pressure on your lumbar or cervical spine. If you’re going to be on your phone, at your desk or in front of a TV, make sure you have good posture and your head stays positioned directly above your shoulders to help avoid putting more stress on your spine.
2. Posture Care – Building off the above point, it’s important to be aware of your posture throughout the day in the new year. Perform regular posture checks throughout the day, especially in places like in the car or on the sofa. Poor posture leads to spinal degeneration and issues like pinched nerves or herniated discs, so strive to be more aware of your spinal positioning throughout the day.
3. Exercise – Exercise is great for your whole body, but it’s especially important for your spine which helps handle stress with every move you make. Strive to exercise more in the new year, or better yet, hyper-focus your exercises to strengthen your core or your spine. Activities like swimming or running on an elliptical are great ways to build spinal muscle strength without overstressing certain areas of your body, which is sometimes common in an exercise like traditional running. Any exercise is great, but limited weight bearing options are even better for your spine.
4. Healthy Diet – For most people, some form of dietary change is on their list of resolutions, and it should be if you’re interested in caring for your spine. Strive for more vegetables and whole grains instead of carbs and fats to help your spine get the nutrients it needs to stay strong. To help improve blood flow to the area, ditch the alcohol or soda and stick with water in the new year, as it will help to open up blood vessels.
5. Stop Small Problems – Finally, most health conditions respond better to early intervention, and your spine is no different. Even if your spine feels fine now, resolve to have any future pains cared for by a professional. Don’t let a small injury get worse because you didn’t get it taken care of promptly. Resolve to care for your spine by having injuries or nagging pains examined by a specialist like Dr. Chang.
Have a wonderful new year!