Tips to Healthy Spinal Discs
July 11th, 2016 201 post views
Lumbar Disc: My top tips to protect your spinal discs
My top tips to protect your spinal discs is the first of a group of self-help blogs I am planning. People often ask me what they can do to help themselves and so this way I can share with everyone.
1.Drink plenty of water. The disc is primarily made up of water. The disc is made up of two parts: a jelly centre and harder onion skin like layers on the outside. This jelly centre allows for the movement in the spine and also for shock absorption. So every time you step, jump or walk the discs help to absorb that pressure. If it wasn’t for the water in the disc, this could not happen. Often after having imaging of the low back such as an MRI, people are told that they have dehydration within their discs. Part of this can be due to actually not drinking enough water. Water is essential for a healthy disc.
2.Reduce alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Following on from the previous point, all three of these are known to dehydrate the disc. So, as important as it is to drink water, it is also important to limit these as best you can. Obviously if you do have lots of these, it’s incredibly important that you do everything else on this list to keep the discs healthy.
3. Keep moving. The disc in the spine has a very poor blood supply and gets all the nutrients it needs through a process called imbibing. This is where fluid is moved in and out of the disc taking nutrients with it. This process only occurs with movement. Therefore if you do not move, you do not get the nutrients you need. This is also why having a well-hydrated disc is very important. The more dehydrated the disc, the less fluid you move, the less nutrients you get.
4. Take care when lifting and bending. We all know when lifting to bend with our knees. But what lots of people do is they bend with their knees, but also with their backs. This puts extra pressure on the disc (see below chart). This chart shows that bending whilst standing increases the pressure on the disc by an extra 50%, e.g. if you have 100kgs pressure on the disc standing up straight, when you bend forward it will be 150kgs pressure. Imagine if you then add a weight in your hand, like a heavy box. This will put even more unnecessary pressure on the low back discs.
Good and poor lifting techniques
Avoid twisting and bending at the same time. This puts extra pressure on the disc and therefore makes you more susceptible to injury. How many times have you heard people say “I just bent over to grab something and my back went!” Often this is when people are doing a combination of bending and twisting.
- Pay attention to your posture. The same as point 4; disc pressures are displayed in the table. This shows the difference in the pressure on the disc with a good sitting posture and a poor sitting posture. These days it is incredibly important to keep posture as good as possible as most of us spend most of the day sitting at a desk. If you do this, it is incredibly important that you keep your posture as good as possible to keep the discs as healthy as possible. Obviously take regular breaks as well so that we can do what it says in point 3 and keep moving.
If you like these tips there are more tips on my website.
Yours in health,
Mykel Mason your Eastbourne Chiropractor