In a perfect world, every health condition would be perfectly preventable, but alas, we don’t live in a perfect world. That being said, there are a number of spinal conditions that can either be prevented of have their likelihood mitigated by taking certain precautions. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the ways you can work to reduce your risk of needing a spine surgery in the future.
Obviously there are some scenarios where no matter how hard you work, you may need to have a spinal operation. If you are involved in a car accident or a freak injury at work, surgery might be on the table. But the majority of spinal operations in the US each year are for elective reasons, and many of the conditions that drive these elective operations can be prevented with some daily due diligence. Here’s a look at some ways you can work to reduce your risk of needing a spinal operation in the future.
Exercise – Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your spine and your whole body health. Staying physically fit will ensure that muscles and soft tissues that support your spine will stay healthy, which protects the stability of your spine. However, you also need to be careful not to overdo it with too many stressful exercises in a short period of time. If you’re keen on exercising every day, rotate between weight bearing activities that can stress your spine (like running) and limited weight bearing exercises (like cycling and swimming).
Diet – What you eat also plays a role in your spine health over the years. We’re not saying that you always need to reach for steamed vegetables, but strive for more healthy options over fats and carbs on a regular basis. A poor diet can lead to weight gain, which will put more stress on your spine with every step you take. By eating a healthy diet, you’ll help take stress off your spine, and you can reduce the risk of issues like spinal inflammation. Inflammation is more common when diet choices are worse.
Posture – We’re seeing more spinal problems that are a result of poor posture than ever before. Much of this likely has to do with the rise of the smartphone and laptop, as many people are hunched over these devices for hours a day. Make it a point to perform regular posture checks and strive to keep your head positioned directly over your shoulders to help keep stress off your lumbar and cervical spine. This goes for all points throughout the day, not just when you’re on your phone or computer. When you’re on the couch or driving in your car, strive to have great posture to help keep your spine healthy for years to come.
Mind Your Core – Your core muscles play a crucial role in the support and stability of your spine, so if you’re really interested in keeping your spine healthy, target these muscle groups during strength training activities. Develop a workout that tests and builds these muscles on a regular basis.
Follow Through On Physical Therapy – For many individuals, their doctor will recommend conservative care techniques before surgery in hopes that non-operative methods can correct the issue. Oftentimes this involves painkillers, rest and physical therapy. Physical therapy is often the conservative technique that can provide the most benefit because it actively targets the weakened area, whereas rest and painkillers are passive techniques. However, to get the most out of physical therapy, you need to give it your all. Attend all your sessions and give 100 percent when you’re working with the therapist. PT has helped prevent the need for many surgeries, but you need to work hard to achieve its benefits.
For help with your back pain, or to learn how you can best prevent the need for surgery, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.