Soap-Box with the ChiroLady

Skeletal System: shows the spinal vertabrae

Soap-Box

with the ChiroLady

 

Have you ever wondered why out of the blue, all-of-a-sudden your low back "gives out"? Or your neck just starts hurting with no previous injury to speak of?

For example, you bend down to pet your dog and you feel a strong stabbing pain in your low back which is preventing you from straightening up? And you are only 35 years old for heaven's sake!!

Well, you are not the only one that is experiencing this. It is very common for average Americans today to experience low back pain and neck pain. But common does NOT mean NORMAL. Think about it. Heart attacks are common, but they are NOT normal. Indigestion is common, but NOT normal. Same thing with low back pain and neck pain. It is common, but it is NOT normal. 

So why would a 30 or 40-year old experience back pain and neck pain; or why would the senior population develop arthritis? Age you say? I say no. Age plays only a smalll part in the wear and tear on the spine and your bones. 

The simple answer is STRESS. Emotional, chemical, and physical stress. 

Stress leads to wear and tear on your spine (for the sake of this conversation I will use "spine" to represent the whole skeletal system).

When we are born, all the bones of the spine (vertebrae) are the same age. So, lets think through this logically ... if age was the cause of arthritis or pain, wouldn't ALL the vertabrae start hurting at the SAME time? Why would only the neck start hurting? Are your neck vertabrae older than your low back or elbow or hands? No.

So, why does only your neck hurts? Again, my answer is stress. It could be a one-time stress (i.e. car accident, sport accident, fall, etc.) or most commonly small stresses over long periods of time (i.e. repetitive rotation while golfing, sitting hunched over at your computer desk, even normal household activities, etc).

How can you prevent your spine from deteriorating? Remove as much stress as possible. Unfortunately, we still need to work and do certain things to survive in this world, but by adapting and changing small things in your life, we can really do a lot to minimize these stressors. 

Practical ways to reduce physical stress on your spine:

1. Stretch for 5 minutes in the opposite direction every hour: For example, if you sit at your desk bent forward with your neck dropping forward, take 5 minutes to stretch backwards and extend your neck back. Another example, you always swing to the left in golf, take the time to do rotational stretch to the right. Use your common sense. 

2. Sleep the correct way: We spend about a third of our life in bed, right? I recomment you sleep on either side with a pillow between your knees or on your back with a pillow underneath the knees. I know, some of you just LOVE sleepig on your stomach, but it is not good for you neck or back; just saying. Make sure your head pillow is at the right height so that the neck is level (not tilting up or down).

3. Realign the spine: Visit a chiropractor!! Am I biased? Absolutely! But it WORKS. Realign the spine for the healing information from the brain to reach the area of pain. If there is a kink in the hose, the water doesn't flow. Remove the kink (realign the vertabrae) and let the information flow at 100%.

4. Exercises: We all know we need to exercise more ... but I recommend to consult with a professional to see what exercises fit your body best. That could be a personal trainer, physical therapist, or chiropractor. I like to tailor specific exercises and stretches to each patient and teach them which ones are best. 

5. Put ice on it instead of heat: If you have inflammation in your low back, put ice instead of heat. Yes, the heat feels better for the period you have it on, but most of the time the icepack is the one that reduces the inflammation and with it the pain. Ask your chiropractor which is best for you if you have an active condition. 

Hope that helps, my friends!

ChiroLady

Tune in next time to Soap Box to talk about how emotional and chemical stress affect your spine. 

Author
Dr. Katya AKA ChiroLady I am a very straight-forward person that enjoys debates and discussions. I am a license Chiropractor that loves to teach and explain how the body works, how it heals, and what is best for health. I graduated from UNCC with a BS in Biology and from National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL with my doctorate degree in Chiropractic medicine.

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