Being Crooked Isn’t Always Bad
How many of us were told to stand up straight when we were young? While it’s always a good idea to maintain proper posture, many people have the false idea that the spine is always straight.
Your spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. They interlock to form your spinal column, and can be divided into different unique regions:
– The cervical spine. With a slight inward curve, this spinal curve is in your neck, at the topmost part of the spinal column.
– The thoracic spine. This region curves outward, forming a C-shape. It is located between your neck and abs, named for the thorax.
– The lumbar spine. This area curves inward, like the cervical spine. It is responsible for connecting your abs to your lower body.
– The sacrum. At the base of the lumbar, this connects to your pelvis.
– The coccyx. Just below the sacrum is the coccyx, which is responsible for bearing quite a bit of weight.
Each of these regions has its own unique jobs in supporting your body’s health. The spine is meant to take pressure, weight and force while keeping the body balanced, whether you’re still or moving. This balance is helped along by the spine’s curves – a vital part of keeping you functioning as you should be.
While most people have the idea that the spine should be straight, it curves if you view it from the side, also called a lateral view.
When any of the above-mentioned curves are exaggerated, it can lead to pain and dysfunction. Others who have issues with their spinal curves may not be experiencing any symptoms at all, but may further down the road.
What Causes Abnormal Curves?
The most common type of abnormal curve is known as scoliosis. Often affecting children (though it can be found in adults as well). If your spine’s curvature is abnormal even when viewed from the front or side, it can be an indication of scoliosis.
In the spine, there are several reasons that abnormal curves may exist. Many health problems can contribute to these problems. These may include poor posture, development in utero, arthritis, osteoporosis and obesity.
If you have concerns about your spinal curves, it’s a good idea to book a Chiropractic assessment. As practitioners who focus on helping people live more actively and free from pain, Chiropractors can assess your spinal column and determine if you may benefit from further care. The range of conditions a Chiropractor can treat includes neck pain, back pain, arthritis, certain types of headaches, injuries and more. A Chiropractor assesses your spine, muscles, and nervous system to identify any potential problems and advise you on their best advice to make sure your spinal column stays in great shape. Call us today to book a Chiropractic Spinal Assessment.
Which Type of Exercise Is Truly Best?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a single person in the whole world who isn’t aware of the benefits of exercise. What are you doing to stay active? Whether you enjoy biking, walking, weight training, getting out in your garden or chasing after kids and grandkids, there are numerous reasons to move your body regularly.
Physical activity is beneficial for everyone, even older adults that may feel limited in their abilities. Even if you’re not currently exercising as much as you would like to, there are exercises for every age and ability.
But how do you know which is the best to do? Plenty of people swear by their jogging routine, or are avid cyclists. To understand which exercise is going to pack the most punch for your health, it’s important to discuss the types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.
Endurance. This is probably what comes to mind when you think of the word “exercise.” Often referred to as aerobics or cardio, endurance exercise involves increasing your breathing and heart rate. How’s your endurance? THink about the last time you walked up a flight of stairs. If it was a struggle, you may need to work on your endurance.
Some ideas for endurance exercise are walking, swimming, joggling, dancing or signing up for an aerobics class.
Strength. Strength exercises are often overlooked, particularly by the older population who may think they’re not able to do strength exercises. That couldn’t be more incorrect! There are strength exercises appropriate for all abilities. Because we lose muscle mass as we age, strength training is vital at all ages and stages of life. You can build that muscle back and feel more able and confident in your daily tasks. Plus, stronger muscles will stimulate bone growth, lower blood sugar, assist with weight control, reduce pain and improve balance and posture.
If you’re not certain where to begin, consider visiting a health professional who can design a strength training program that is right for you.
Balance. When you do regular balance exercises, you can prevent injury from occurring and feel steadier on your feet. You can take classes such as tai chi to improve your balance. Or a health professional can assess you, then create a tailored balance exercise program that will target your specific problems.
Balance exercises include standing on one foot, walking heel to toe or walking on uneven surfaces. Be sure that you are prepared to give these a try so that you don’t tax your body or cause injury.
Flexibility. When you have to stretch, for example to reach something on the ground, do you feel a pull at your muscles? When we age, our tendons and muscles become less flexible. Muscles may shorten, increasing the risk of pain and lack of mobility. Stretching your muscles regularly will make them more flexible and lengthen them, reducing pain and the risk of an injury occurring.
There are stretches for each area of the body. Be sure, however, not to push yourself into pain. That can lead to bigger problems, so carefully monitor how you feel when stretching.
So, what should someone do to stay optimally healthy? Don’t limit yourself to a single type of activity. Try to find one of each of the four categories you enjoy and rotate the type of exercise you get on a daily basis!