The spine is a very important part of the body as it enables and supports various functions like, it bears your weight, helps you stand upright, supports back, protects the spinal cord, and enables flexible motions.
Everyday Habits That Might Damage The Spine
There are certain routine activities that may be slowly damaging the spine, you were unaware of.
- Weight-bearing exercises help increase bone density of the spine and strengthens the surrounding muscles (1). But if done in excess can bring on damaging effects and worsen the back.
- One should aim for 30 to 40 minutes of heavyweight carrying exercise 3-4 times in a week (2).
- Not exercising at all also leads to a natural decline in bone density with age, which can be harmful to the back.
- Poor posture can misalign the spine and damage it. This also increases the stress on the knees.
- To improve the posture you need to sit in an upright position, with chest lifted and shoulder down. Core strengthening exercises help provide muscular support to the spine which is good for a healthy posture. Yoga also works well for improving posture.
- But always make sure whatever exercise routine you pick, take advice from a professional, so that what you do benefit the spine and not damage it.
- Smoking is another everyday habit which damages the spine. Nicotine present in it affects the blood flow to the spinal cord, affecting bone and causing premature disc degeneration. It also dehydrates the disc making it difficult to absorb nutrients necessary for the health of the spine.
- Smoking also increases the risk of pseudoarthrosis in patients undergoing lumbar and cervical fusion (3). It affects the outcome of the surgery of lumbar and cervical spine (4).
Disruption of Circadian Rhythms
- Circadian rhythm is a 24 hours internal clock in the physiological process of living beings. It is disrupted due to aging, night shifts, and insomnia. This leads to the dysfunctioning of the cells in the intervertebral disk, which leads to chronic inflammation. This makes the development of back pain more susceptible.
Mobile Phone Addiction
- The forward-head posture, which is very common while viewing mobile phones, makes the upper spine to be in over flexed position for long. This can compress the spinal disc over time.
Wearing Uncomfortable Footwear
- Wearing high heeled footwear can misalign the spine curvature. Keep the heels just for certain occasions and try and wear sneakers and flats to keep the leg and spine in comfort.
Low Calcium Diet
- It is a well-known fact that calcium is an essential mineral for bone health. If the body is low in calcium, it starts consuming the calcium reserved in the bones. This can weaken the spine.
- A calcium-rich diet is very important at any age of life. If you have a low calcium level the doctor also prescribes supplements via medication to meet the needs.
- Rich sources of calcium are dairy products, green leafy vegetables, and fishes with soft bones.
Low Vitamin D
- The richest source of vitamin D is sunlight. But while going out in the sun either we are covered in layers of clothes or sunscreen.
- Before slathering SPF you should allow your body at least 15 minutes of morning sunlight to help boost vitamin D production.
- Our body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium, deficiency of which leads to low calcium and weakness of the spine.
- If you want to know your vitamin D levels, get a blood test done and take a supplement if the levels appear low.
Sleeping in the Wrong Position
- A wrong sleeping position hurts the spine. Such as sleeping on the stomach is bad for spine health as it puts pressure on the spine arch and neck causing joint pain, back pain, and neck pain.
- Certain medication such as steroids weakens the bones. Systemic corticosteroids are known to induce osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures (5).
- The more steroid you consume greater is the level of bone damage.
- Always discuss the medications prescribed and their side effects with your doctor and if any steps you can take to reverse the bad effects.
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