I might be a chiropractor, but I’m also a chiropractic patient… And the notion of having to get adjusted every week (or every month for that matter), really irks me. It’s time-consuming and costly when you have to get adjusted that often.
Fortunately there are things we can do, and not do, to reduce the need for frequent/excessive adjustments. I call it spine management. So if you’re interested in decreasing the number of trips you make to the chiropractor’s office, while increasing your overall quality of life in the process, take these tips into consideration.
Activities and behaviors that stress, strain, or wear down the spine in an untimely manner can be considered “bad” spine management.
Examples of Bad Spine Management
- Poor general posture (slouching)
- Non-ergonomic work space
- Sedentary lifestyle (hours of daily couch-time)
- Spending too much time in front of a computer
- Hunching over a smartphone playing games or texting all day
- Not exercising for at least 20-30 minutes daily
- Not walking enough
- Sleeping on your stomach
- Using a dated mattress that provides inadequate support
- Using an unsupportive pillow
- Not drinking enough pure water
- Failing to stretch regularly
- Neglecting your spine by not getting periodic chiropractic checkups
These habits and behavior patterns can also trigger symptomatic flare-ups and relapses. In other words, just when you’re starting to feel like things are getting back to normal, your pain comes back with a vengeance.
Here’s what you can do to help prevent that from happening:
Examples of Good Spine Management
- Periodic chiropractic checkups – Seasonal checkups are my personal recommendation for patients who practice good spine management. This helps insure your body doesn’t remain misaligned or unbalanced for too long.
- Stretch regularly – Consider how inflexible most elderly people are… how do you think they got that way? Muscles abide by the “use it or lose it” principle. Avoid this fate by isolating key muscle groups and giving them a good daily stretch (I’m a big fan of the Foundation stretches to prevent recurring low back pain).
- Proper hydration – What happens if you don’t water a plant regularly? It wilts. The same withering effect occurs internally with every organ, muscle, and tissue in your body. Your spine and its supportive structures work best when they’re hydrated.
- Daily exercise – In addition to walking at least a mile per day (after dinner is great), join a gym and treat different muscles to a daily workout. Chest, back, legs, and core are the most important. BodyRock.TV offers dozens of great free workout plans.
- Supportive sleep environment – Your bed and pillow should both help keep your body in natural alignment. Dated and flimsy mattresses stress your hips, pelvis, and back, which inevitably lead to chronic pain. Buy a quality pillow that keeps your head level, and use a good mattress that firmly (yet comfortably) prevents your spine from dipping or sagging while you sleep.
- Be mindful of your posture – This applies to whatever you’re doing, whether you’re at work, home, in the car, at the gym, or simply standing up. So sit up straight! Good posture has benefits; poor posture has consequences.
The bottom line is this… patients who practice good spine management get the best results with chiropractic care, and spend the least amount of money in the process.