Spinal health and wellness, like anything wellness, is a nebulous term. Wellness is basically giving your body everything it needs (sufficiency) and avoiding things that are harmful (purity). So what is required to achieve spinal health and wellness?
Sufficiency for Spinal Health and Wellness:
(Requirements to be healthy and stay healthy)
- Movement (Hugely Important!)
- Stability and Control
- Nutrition (Building Blocks)
- Strong Position/Posture
Purity for Spinal Health and Wellness is Limiting These Toxic Things:
- Lack of motion (Sitting, standing stationary, lack of exercise, lack of single joint movement)
- Repetitive Overuse (E.g. Too much bending forward with driving, sitting, lifting, bending, texting, etc.)
- Poor Nutrition
- Traumatic Injuries
- Chronic Inflammation
As you can see there is some overlap between achieving sufficiency and purity. As you work at giving your body what it needs, you often also avoid things that are harmful.
Movement and Joint Health
Movement is a cornerstone of joint health. If any joint, including those in your spine, are not moving (and moving well), they simply are not healthy. Movement circulates fluid in the joint which brings nutrients to areas that don’t have direct blood supply. If you immobilize a joint, joint cartilage will start to degenerate in days to weeks. If this happens long term, joints will eventually wear out. This often DOES NOT hurt! I often see people who come in at the first signs of pain and find significant joint degeneration that took decades to develop. Chiropractic adjustments help to restore proper joint mobility.
Exercise, Stability, Control & Posture
Exercise, stability and control, and strong posture all tie in with movement. Exercise is essential to overall health and also typically gets joints moving. However, it will not typically get a specific joint moving if it is stuck. Stability and control are necessary to move well and to be able to keep a joint moving. If motion can’t be properly controlled, a joint will tend to lock down. Posture is fairly intuitive. Strong posture puts everything in the best position to work properly and reduces abnormal stress on joints, ligaments, and muscles. As important as Chiropractic can be to healthy joint motion, it will not improve many of these other factors alone.
Many of the toxicities to avoid for Spinal Health and Wellness are just the opposite of moving well. As a group, we do way too much not moving (or not moving well) these days. Sitting at work, in the car, and at home as well as standing and bending all day at work or at home. These lead to lack of proper joint movement as well as development of poor movement patterns and potentially repetitive stress injuries. There is generally too much forward bending motion for most of us today, which can be hard on the spine. Limiting these positions and movements and doing some things to counteract their negative effects will improve spinal health.
This is not a nutrition post, but basically you need proper building blocks to maintain healthy joints and tissues. A lack of these will lead to problems. A lack of proper nutrition will also typically mean exposure to junkier, toxic “food”.