5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Spine

If 2012 was marred by back and neck pain, add these 5 resolutions to your list. Remember, your spine connects many nerves, muscles and ligaments throughout the body, making spinal health key to your overall health.

1. Resolve to cherish sleep
While sleeping, your spine finally has an opportunity to relax and repair itself. Try sleeping in a neutral position on your back or on the side to avoid forcing any extra curves into your back. Make sure you have a supportive pillow and mattress to properly and comfortably sleep in a neutral position. This way, your body can take full advantage of restorative sleep and more easily be able to relax.

2. Resolve to stretch
Tight muscles can cause imbalances in bodily structure, increasing the risk of injury and causing pain. In particular, tight muscles around the spine cause spinal stress instead of providing adequate spinal support. Also, tight hamstrings can pull the pelvis out of its normal alignment with the spine, causing back and joint pain. Consider stretching your spine via inversion therapy – effective and only takes a couple minutes.

3. Resolve to be active
Different types of exercise protect the spine in different ways. For example, abdominal exercises strengthen the core area, which support and protect the spine. Cardio helps shed extra weight that drags down on ligaments, muscles, and tendons of the lower back. Exercise helps the healing process, so for those sidelined by injury, make it a priority to stay active within your physical means.

4. Resolve to create a spine-healthy work environment
For full-time office workers, lower back pain may be a result of poor workplace ergonomics. From sitting on a chair with good back support to avoiding prolonged sitting, all systems, levels, and angles must work together for an ergonomic workstation. For more information, check out our infographic on how to design your workspace for maximum movement, flexibility, comfort, and productivity.

5. Resolve to stay hydrated
We all know water is vital, but don’t underestimate its importance to the spine. Our spinal discs can shrink over time if they don’t get enough water, resulting in less “padding” and increased likelihood of spinal ruptures or bulges. Resolve to choose water as your accompanying beverage of choice at meals, and sip liberally throughout the day.

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