Your spinal discs help to facilitate movement while acting as shock absorbers for your spine. However, over time this repeated stress can gradually wear down our spinal discs, leading to painful movement, nerve compression and other spinal issues. Some disc loss is inevitable over time due to the aging process, but other times we knowingly and unknowingly do things that contribute to spinal disc height loss. Below, we share some tips for preventing disc height loss in your spine.
Stopping Spinal Disc Loss
As we noted above, disc height loss is not 100 percent preventable, but there are some lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the rate at which this degeneration occurs. Factors to keep in mind include:
Maintaining a Healthy Weight – Excess weight means your spinal discs are absorbing extra stress with every step you take. Maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce the load your spine bears over the years.
Posture Care – Whether you’re working on the job or reading on the couch, you’ll want to be aware of your posture and make corrective changes. Staying in one position too long or having poor physical mechanics when moving can put added stress on certain spinal discs and contribute to degeneration and height loss.
Smoking – Smoking is bad for your health for a number of reasons, but it also can really impact your spinal discs. Smoking can inhibit healthy blood flow to your discs, which in turn leaves them more susceptible to degeneration. Kick the habit to help limit spinal disc height loss.
Excessive Alcohol Intake – Along a similar vein, heavy alcohol intake over an extended period of time can damage blood vessels and inhibit healthy blood flow to spinal structures.
Injuries – Injuries aren’t always preventable, but studies have shown that acute injuries to the spine can lead to disc height loss, so wear protective gear when participating in athletic activities and follow safety protocols on the job to reduce your risk of a spinal injury.
Exercise – Exercise is very important in helping prevent early spinal disc height loss. Exercise will help to strengthen key spinal structures so it can properly handle stress, which in turn can keep some stress off your discs. Strive to get regular exercise to help protect your discs.
Diet – Finally, your diet also plays a crucial role in the health of your spinal discs. You get a number of essential vitamins and minerals from your diet, but if your diet is mostly carbohydrates and sugars, your spine isn’t going to get the nutrients it needs for healthy growth and development. Eat a range of healthy foods, and your spinal discs will thank you for it.
For more tips on helping protect your spinal discs, or for assistance in treating a back problem, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.