Spinal injuries can be incredibly painful and debilitating. In worst-case scenarios, they can even cause those affected to lose functionality and feeling. Although spinal complications can be caused by serious conditions such as scoliosis, spina bifida and arthritis, they can also be caused by everyday factors too. This brief guide will investigate some of these top factors, and more importantly, determine the best ways to prevent injury and discomfort.
What is a spinal injury?
Essentially, the spinal cord is a major component of our anatomy. It’s the bundle of nerves that crucially connects our brain to the rest of our nervous system. If damaged, the communication between our brain and body could be gravely affected. Therefore, it’s vital to protect the spine by preventing any damage or trauma to the region in the first place.
Everyday factors that can lead to spinal injuries
There are a number of everyday contributing factors that could lead to spinal injury. These can include:
- Bad posture; your mom was right to tell you to sit up straight. Hunching and slouching can cause unnecessary strain on your neck, back and shoulders
- Standing for long periods of times
- Sleeping in awkward positions
- Persistent grinding of teeth can put tension on your neck muscles
- Stress and anxiety; these can cause the build up of muscle tension
- Certain physical exercises can exasperate the back and neck (lifting weights and core workouts such as sit-ups)
- Pregnancy can put a strain on the lower back in particular
- Being overweight can put undue stress on the body
- Lifting something heavy or incorrectly (this also applies to pushing, pulling and carrying)
- Recent studies have also highlighted that smoking can increase the risk of chronic back pain
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your back muscles; activities like walking, swimming and yoga are ideal
- Hot baths can relax the muscles and minimize pain
- Conversely, ice packs can be applied to the sore area to alleviate pain
- If pain and discomfort persist, it’s always advisable to seek out treatment from a reputable professional, such as Chiropractor Sol Cogan
Although back pain is one of the most common reasons to visit a doctor in America, there are preventative measures that will help ensure you won’t be joining to wait in line:
- Always take breaks where you know you will be sedentary for a prolonged period of time (e.g. lengthy drives, extensive time working at a computer)
- Invest in a good firm mattress that will support your body and keep the spine straight
- If you’re participating in any sports, always ensure you have the recommended safety gear (helmets are vital for activities such as cycling, horse riding, mountain climbing, boxing etc.)
- If you attend a gym, make sure you receive an induction so you’re fully aware of the correct ways to operate any equipment
- Use a stool to reach items in high places to minimize the risk of injury
- Grab handrails when going up and down stairs for balance
- Invest in non-slip mats on areas that are tiled or prone to becoming wet (e.g. bathrooms and kitchens)
- Always wear a seat belt while driving in the event of a collision
- Educate yourself on how to lift and carry heavy objects correctly
By being aware of how you’re moving your body and what you’re putting into it on an a daily basis, you’ll greatly decrease your chances of getting a spinal injury that could potentially affect your everyday life.