As chiropractors and physiotherapists, we see that one of the most important goals many of our practice members have is essentially to become healthier. Unfortunately by the time they come to see us, many of these individuals are already experiencing some level of pain where for some, their conditions are already chronic.
Our aim through this post is to try and educate the wider community on the importance of prevention when it comes to their overall spine and joint health. It does require a mindset change but we’re sure we can at least try and get individuals to take notice and be mindful of their wellbeing moving forward.
How can you practice preventative health for your spine and joints?
As a start, you can start by getting physically active! The human body, is not structured to be sedentary for a prolonged period of time. In a study, it showed that out of the 302 respondents who live a sedentary lifestyle, 68% of them showed a recurrence of low back pain! If you’re someone who isn’t very active, you could begin by taking the stairs on a regular basis rather than the elevator or attend a weekly aerobics class at your local gym. Recently, even the Malaysian government issued a directive to its civil servants to encourage physical activity by allowing 15-minute “x-breaks” throughout the working day for light exercises.
By keeping active, it can help lubricate our joints, prevent muscle atrophy (weakening and shrinking), and ultimately reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. This is just a start, but it all depends on your own individual goals. The most important thing is to begin moving about more if you identify yourself as someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle.
Another way to practice preventative health is by ensuring you’re eating the right diet. According to Dr. Fred Tabung, a researcher with Harvard University, he states that inflammation is one of the main causes for chronic pain, and there are evidences to show that a persons’ diet can contribute to an increased systemic inflammation, as well as reducing it too! Inflammation is actually a part of the body’s immune response and healing process, however, when it gets chronic, it may cause several diseases such as rheumatoid arthritisand atherosclerosis. The best dietary approach is to aim for a variety. Cut out bad inflammatory foods (such as processed foods, including soda and processed meat), and adopt more foods with anti-inflammatory effects (such as whole fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, and fatty fish).
Lastly, another suggestion to practice preventative health is to make a conscious effort to improve your posture. It may sound easy, however, even the most experienced ballet dancers still have areas to their posture where they can improve on! For example, awkward and incorrect sitting or standing postures can significantly increase the tightness of back and neck muscles, and affect the normal curvature of the spine. Prolonged periods (with the inclusion of fatigue), in bad posture puts stress and strain on the spine and its surrounding muscles, and that is when problems like back pain, headaches and even degenerative issues start to arise due to acceleration of the wear and tear process.
At Spinefit, we believe that by practicing preventative health, one can enjoy a good quality of life as they age. Although lifestyle habits vary from individual to individual. We believe that by including regular chiropractic or physiotherapy sessions along with practicing some of the suggestions above, can significantly improve a persons’ overall wellbeing – even when there’s an absence of any sort of pain.