19 Apr 2017

5 steps to a healthier spine

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Today’s lifestyle, often associated with long periods seated in front of a screen, does not encourage a healthy spine and makes it more challenging to achieve strength in the muscles that foster good posture. The consequences of the related bad habits impact externally and internally. Externally, the hunched shoulders, tense neck and painful lower back are unattractive. Internally, various organs may not be able to perform their functions properly because of the constriction resulting from poor posture. All ranges of the age spectrum face their specific issues. Younger people may damage their developing bones and muscles from inappropriate or insufficient use. Older people, who tend to become stiffer with the passing of years, should be maintaining optimum mobility and flexibility with correct posture and the type and amount of exercise they do. There are no short cuts, and the best approach is to incorporate the right guidance and activities into daily living. However at northlondonosteopaths Alan Nevies and his associates recommend the following 5 steps to benefit your spine, with the hope of some immediate effect.

1. Bring the objects you hold up to your face. A smartphone, a book, your food. This helps align your upper back and neck and should help prevent upper back and shoulder pain.

2. Shoulders down. Lifting shoulders to your neck causes tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back. Imagine somebody placing their hands on your shoulders and pushing them down.

3. Chin back (chin up is not to be taken literally! We are sometimes unaware that we slide our chins forward which creates a rounded upper back. Try to focus on a standing position where ears, shoulders and ankles are aligned.

4. Focus on your core. Take the strain in your abdominal muscles (which should be strong) which helps to protect your spine. Although this takes time and consistency, sometimes engaging abdominal muscles while standing will enhance posture, give you the appearance of a flatter stomach and prevent strain on the lower back. What’s not to like?

5. Focus on your posture. The more of a habit we make this the easier it becomes and in such a way we can prevent certain problems and painful conditions. At northlondonosteopaths Alan Nevies and his associates are delighted to show you how.