Simple Steps to Protect Your Bones

How you can tweak your diet and movement for the sake of your spine
March 16, 2018 Updated: March 16, 2018

There is a growing problem happening and it is affecting people of all ages: The more time we spend sitting in front of a computer, the more we suffer from back pain.

Spinal health is incredibly important yet very much overlooked. Poor posture, prolonged sitting, heavy purses, and knapsacks all weaken our spines.

Back pain can limit your ability to perform daily tasks. Some of us may be so in so much pain we don’t take part in our favorite activities. It may also stop us from exercising. This inactivity then contributes to greater degeneration of the spinal discs and spine as a whole.

For these reasons, it is critical to treat your back pain rather than simply live with it.

Dr. Aashish Chaudhry, managing director and orthopedic surgeon at the Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital in India, says that using our devices so often is detrimental to our neck and spine, and influences our stance in ways that make the problem worse.

“Adopting principles of good ergonomics early in life can help you go a long way in preventing neck and back problems.”
— Dr. Aashish Chaudry

“Use any device at the eye level as much as possible. They should also be positioned so the screen is at eye level and you don’t have to look down or bend your head forward. Ensure that your screen is set up so that you have to look forward,” advises Dr. Chaudhry.

“Adopting principles of good ergonomics early in life can help you go a long way in preventing neck and back problems.”

Although age-related spinal changes can be difficult or impossible to undo, there are exercises that can be practiced to improve the spine. Yoga moves like snake, downward dog, and child’s pose can alleviate back pain along with strengthening the back.

Lifestyle changes can also protect the spine and prevent osteoporosis. Smoking, for example, increases bone degeneration and is bad for the back.

Water, however, can be good for the back, in more ways than one, says Dr. Puneet Girdhar, director of spine surgery at BLK Centre for Orthopaedics, Joint Reconstruction, and Spine Surgery in India.

“Hydration [maintains] soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in joints. Applying heat—warm water baths, using a heated compress or lying briefly under a heat lamp relaxes your back muscles and stimulates blood flow.”

Dietary habits that can help support a healthy spine include eating whole foods and plenty of dark leafy greens like broccoli. These are a good plant-based source of calcium. Eggs, fatty fish, and sunlight are good sources of vitamin D.

Know your risk factors for osteoporosis and speak to your doctor for help so you can further prevent the risk of spinal or bone injuries.

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