Your spine requires plenty of water and nutrients to stay healthy and perform at its best, just like the rest of your body. The problem is, your spine is not able to absorb the water and nutrients it needs in the same way as other parts of the body, nor is it able to eliminate the wastes from metabolism. In a person’s early teens, the spinal discs lose the nutritional supply coming from blood, and the elimination system atrophies. Subsequently, the spine is only able to receive water and nutrients through osmosis and a process called imbibition. This last method occurs when the motion between vertebral discs acts as a pump to move fluids in and out of the discs. Thus, the health of your spine depends on movement. The sedentary lifestyles of most Americans (and especially senior citizens) make this problem worse.
As a person gets older and grows less active, the loss of spinal water can lead to disc degeneration and the eventual loss of motion between vertebral discs. Once this mobility is lost, further degeneration occurs more rapidly and the cycle of dehydration, shrinking, chronic pain and disease accelerates.
Proper hydration is essential for nutrient delivery, lubrication and waste elimination. Normal vertebral discs are 88% water, and because discs lose some of their water during the day, rehydration also proves essential for maintaining the height of each disc. Each sleep cycle will restore most of the daily water loss, but not all of it.
If a person begins to become dehydrated, the body will look to retrieve water from places like the spinal vertebrae first. So drinking abundant amounts of water throughout the day remains an important way of maintaining your spinal health.
Contrary to what has been reported by some in the media, certain aspects of spinal disc damage can in fact be repaired. Appropriate chiropractic care and spinal decompression therapy, along with exercise, nutrition and hydration programs, can often relieve pain and restore function WITHOUT the need for drugs or complex surgery.
Unlike other parts of the body that have abundant blood flow, spinal discs are slower to heal. This means that, while many chiropractic and spinal decompression patients find relief from their pain relatively quickly, it typically takes longer for the discs themselves to recover.
Of course, they say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To keep your spine healthy, stay active, drink plenty of fluids every day and remember to see your chiropractor regularly.
Pico Rivera Chiropractor
Whether we like to admit it or not, the technology in our lives—and the fact that we use much of it while sitting down—is contributing to a growing list of health problems in our society. Those who sit at a desk all day or sit behind the wheel of a car or truck with little or no exercise are at increased risk for a number of chronic health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who have such a sedentary lifestyle are in danger of things like “obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.”
One study showed that those who spend a large amount of time in front of a television or other forms of screen entertainment had a roughly 50% greater risk of death from any source. It’s not really difficult to imagine why this might be the case. Greater body weight combined with lower strength and stamina and reduced balance and flexibility means less agility and durability. This in turn raises the likelihood of more accidents or injuries. The same study showed a 125% greater risk of problems from cardiovascular disease. Care was taken to separate the risk of sitting from that of high blood pressure. Those who had the same high blood pressure, but who sat less, had fewer incidents of health problems.
WebMD has added cancer to the list of ailments for which excessive sitting may be a risk factor. One Australian study of 63,000 older adult men showed that men who sat for more than 4 hours a day were more likely to have a serious, chronic illness than those who sat for less than 4 hours per day. Above 6 hours per day, men were at significantly greater risk of diabetes. Those who regularly sat more than 8 hours a day had the highest level of health risk.
Yet another study showed that back pain strikes 80% of all adults at some time in their life. A significant number of these people suffer because they sit too much. Their core muscles lose conditioning and their waistline becomes a burden that causes the back muscles to do more work to make up for soft abdominals. Weak muscles put the body at risk even during simple tasks. With a more sedentary lifestyle, it becomes easier and easier to overdo the reaching, the lifting or other simple physical work that occurs during any typical day.
There’s another reason that movement is particularly important when it comes to maintaining good spinal health. If the spine is kept motionless, circulation is reduced and it cannot get the nutrients it needs to stay healthy or to heal itself.
If you already have back pain, seeing a chiropractor is a big step in the right direction. A chiropractor can help to realign your vertebrae and, in many cases, an adjustment can provide immediate relief. However, even world-class chiropractic care is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet and lots of exercise. The doctor can’t do all the work for you.
So what can you do? The Mayo Clinic recommends finding more excuses to move around throughout the day, instead of saving it up for a trip to the gym. Waiting until the end of the day to push your body at the gym for 30 minutes is a bit like saving your meals to the end of the month and eating 90 platefuls all at once. You need to spread your movement throughout the day so your body can stay in top condition.