Spinal Hygiene: A Must For Living Pain Free

First Thing's First.  Always Move Well.

Low back pain is the #1 cause of physical disability in the 25-45-year-old working population, and about 31 million Americans are experiencing back pain at any given time.  This condition is also the 2nd leading reason for doctor Visits, being outnumbered only by upper respiratory infections.  Because of this, people are always looking for ways to prevent or help their back pain, but they often overlook the simplest, yet most powerful “fix.”

Aside from traumatic accidents, all back pain stems from the stress you put your spine through on a daily basis.  Many of these activities seem trivial until something goes wrong, then suddenly you realize how much stress your back is under by simply bending over to put on socks!

Every time you get in and out of a chair, pick up your child, or carry groceries to the car you either promote good or bad movement.  There is no neutral ground here.  The more “bad movement” you promote, such as flexing from the lumbar spine instead of hinging at the hips, the more engrained that bad pattern of movement becomes.  I refer to the mindful approach towards these daily activates as “Spinal Hygiene.” Maintaining proper spinal hygiene is key for not only preventing injuries, but quickly bouncing back when you inevitably have some degree of pain.

When spinal hygiene is neglected you find yourself saying, “All I did was bend down to put my socks on and my back went out!”.  Indeed, you did, but it wasn’t just one time, it was 5,000 times and it was done with a flexed low back and no core activation.  Just like you don’t get cavities from forgetting to brush or floss for a day, back pain doesn’t happen because of 1 bad movement.  You have a finite amount of flexion/extension repetitions in the lumbar spine, so choose carefully when you decide to cash that in.

In full disclosure, I don’t want to paint the solution to back pain as such a simple fix. I should point out that back pain is very complex problem that spans beyond just the physical realm and is most definitely effected by emotion and physiological states.  However, being mindful of how you move on a daily basis should be the very first thing you consider before giving much thought to posture, exercises, or even conservative management.  Overlooking this first step of spinal hygiene will render the aforementioned therapies much less effective!  Yet, when careful spinal hygiene and quality treatment is combined, you not only get out of pain, but become an injury-proof animal!

Dr. Scott Dunaway is a Doctor of Chiropractic located in Clarksville Tn and owner of ChiroStrength.  He specializes in treating chronic ailments associated with repetitive overuse habits by combining chiropractic adjustments, Active Release Techniques, and global movement assessment and corrections.  To schedule an appointment call the clinic at 931-321-1414 or submit the new patient form on www.ChiroStrength.com