Everyone knows their spine is important to their posture and balance, but many do not realize the pivotal role spinal health plays in virtually all functions of the body. As a result, many of us go about our day-to-day obligations thinking little about how poor spinal health can evolve into a multitude of health problems.
Because most spinal challenges grow out of long-term poor posture, diet and lifestyle choices, or chronic spinal misalignment, many people do not realize something is wrong, and spinal issues go untreated.
Noticeable and Unnoticeable Signs
Unfortunately, it is the chronic, often daily, challenges we place on our spine that can lead to lasting problems. Poor spinal health leads to pain and discomfort you may notice, such as neck and back pain or headaches, and issues you may not realize are connected to spinal health. Knowing how to recognize the symptoms of poor spinal health is essential to understanding when you need to reach out for help and contact Dr. Stefanko at OrthoUnited.
The most notable signs of poor spinal health include:
- Joint pain
- Fatigue and reduced energy
- Sore/stiff back/neck and shoulders
- Muscle spasms (in the back and neck)
- Numbness and tingling in your extremities
Caring for Your Spine While You Sleep
Although the best way to overcome spinal problems is through help from a skilled, trained professional, there are a few things you can try at home to reduce pain and discomfort. First, consider your spine while you sleep. Laying down at night is your spine's opportunity to rest and relax, but this is only possible if your mattress and pillows provide adequate firmness and support.
Be sure to choose a firm mattress to support your spine rather than one that is too soft and allows your spine to sag. Also, if you tend to sleep on your back, consider placing a pillow under your knees to reduce lower back pressure. Side sleepers may find the same benefit to their hips and lower back by using a pillow between their knees. Try a pillow that supports your cervical spine if you suffer neck pain.
Your core muscles (the ones located in your abdomen and lower back) are pivotal in supporting your spine and helping you maintain proper posture. Sadly, most of us do not use our core muscles often throughout the day, and they grow weaker with time. Talk to a professional at OrthoUnited about exercises you can try to safely strengthen your core.
It is also important to remember that weakened core muscles can result from excessive sitting. When you are standing or moving, you help reduce pressure on your lower spine and improve core strength. Also, when we sit for long periods of time, it is not uncommon to slouch and lean towards the computer monitor, which only contributes to worsening back and neck pain.
Limiting Screen Time
Many of us spend more time than we should in front of computer screens. Due to work requirements, some may spend 8 hours or more in an office chair. It is not uncommon for hours at a desk to be followed by more sitting in front of the television or scrolling through social media. These activities can lead to poor posture, neck pain, back strain, and shoulder problems. If you must work at a desk during the day, take the time to get up and walk around. Also, be conscious of your posture and avoid slouching.
Painful conditions evolving from poor spinal health often require professional care to resolve. Although the above self-management tips may help improve your symptoms in the short term, if you find you need pain medication frequently or consistently experience headaches or pain, it is time to seek help.
At OrthoUnited, our team of skilled professionals can walk you through all of the options we offer, including physical therapy, non-surgical interventions, and spinal surgery with the area's spine specialist, Dr. Stefanko. Let us help you put your struggles with spinal pain in the past.
Contact OrthoUnited today to learn more about our cutting-edge treatment options for spinal pain.