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5 Ways to Keep Your Spine Healthy

5 Ways to Keep Your Spine Healthy

Christina Newton
Physiotherapist
Facts about pain-free people

Did you know?

  • 52% of 30 year olds shown to have disc degeneration
  • 50% of 40 year olds to have disc bulge
  • 67% of 60 year olds to have disk height loss

Age-Specific prevalence estimates of degenerative spine
imaging findings in asymptomatic patients

Don’t panic!
How can physiotherapy help? 
  1. Education 
  2. Pain management
  3. Increase function and optimise performance
Education
  • Back pain is very common – >80% have at least one occurrence in their lifetime
  • It is not usually serious – although painful and frustrating, it usually resolves on its own
  • Discs heal!!
Pain management
  • Specific exercises
  • Manual therapies.
  • Lifestyle and behavioral changes
Increase Function
  • Improving mobility – spine and surrounding structures.
  • Strengthening
  • Conditioning and advice to prevent reinjury
Frequently asked questions
– I’ve been told I have a disc, what should I do?
Firstly, do not panic! Disc herniations/bulges and degeneration are very common and are not lifelong conditions. It is important to know that in most cases they heal on their own and people go back to their normal activities.
– Should I stop exercising?
NO! You may need to alter your activity levels while experiencing acute pain but moving is the best thing you can do. Your physiotherapist will advise you on specific exercises through the stages of your recovery.
– I hate exercise, should I do it anyway?
Yes and No. Studies have shown that participation and drop out rates are directly related to enjoyment levels. Find a class / hobby / sport you enjoy doing and it will be easier to form a habit. Your physiotherapist should also be able to help with this.
– I sit all day at work, do I need a fancy chair?
No. Just MOVE! Although certain positions can place less stress on your spine, maintaining any position for long periods still raises risk of back pain.
Strategies to combat back pain at work:
  • Dynamic sitting Change your position regularly throughout the day
  • Take breaks Every 20-30 mins take a short break to stand or stretch
  • Standing at the office Many modern employers have eliminated chairs and instead people are working at standing stations
Exercise
Strengthening your muscles will naturally improve your posture and reduce pain

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