October is National Spinal Health Month and while most of us know just how important, and sometimes fragile, our spine can be, it’s important to remember to take good care of it in everyday life. In celebration of World Spine Day on October 16, 2017, Heenan & Cook, PLLC. compiled a list of common spinal ailments, tips for everyday spine health, and ways to prevent spinal cord injuries to help maintain a happy and healthy spine.

Common Spine Problems | Causes of Back Pain

Spinal conditions can be either naturally occurring or caused by a strain or injury. An example of a predisposed spine condition is Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis, or AIS. AIS is a curvature of the spine that usually occurs just before puberty. It is a naturally occurring ailment that is not known to be related to a specific act or injury.

Injury-related spinal conditions can be anything from a strained muscle to a complete spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis.

Some of the most common spinal cord ailments or causes of back pain include:

  • AIS
  • Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Cervical Disc Herniation
  • Cervical Stenosis
  • Low Back Sprains
  • Lumbar Disk Herniations
  • Neck Sprain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Whiplash

Tips for Overall Spine Health

With the rise of the online world, many of us are spending the majority of our days in a seated position. This can wreak havoc on our spinal columns resulting in back pain, bad posture, and stress to our lumbar discs.

It’s important to keep moving, allow your spine to fully rest, and provide adequate muscle support for your spine in order to keep it healthy. A few tips for doing so are:

  • Exercise your core. By maintaining strong lower back and ab muscles, you provide needed strength and support for your spine and take pressure off your lower back.
  • Invest in supportive footwear. A good fitting shoe can provide much needed back support by preventing unnecessary lateral movement. Orthotics or inserts can also help with support and balance.
  • Limit sitting time. Sitting down puts enormous strain on the discs in your lower back. Slouching and looking at a computer screen can increase the strain on our lumbar spine even more. If you have a lifestyle where you are constantly sitting at a desk or looking at a screen, make sure to take frequent breaks to get up, walk around, and stretch.

Tips for Preventing Spinal Cord Injury

It’s impossible to guarantee a life without injury, but there are ways to help reduce your chances. These tips may help reduce your risk of suffering a serious spinal cord injury:

  • Drive safely. The leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. is car and motorcycle accidents. Being cautious, practicing defensive driving, and obeying speed limits can greatly reduce your risk of a spinal cord injury.
  • Avoid falls. Slips and falls are the second leading cause of traumatic spinal cord injuries. To prevent suffering a debilitating injury due to a fall, always use handrails while going up and down stairs, use steady step stools or ladders when needed to reach high places, and use precaution when showering or use non-slip mats.
  • Know Depth Before Diving. Whether you are diving into a pool, lake, or other body of water, it’s essential to know the depth and make sure it’s deep enough for you to dive safely. Diving into a shallow body of water can produce catastrophic spinal cord injuries including a broken neck.

Spinal cord health is crucial for a long and healthy life. In honor of National Spinal Health Month, follow these steps to help keep your spine in tip-top condition.