RESOLVE for Better Spine Health in 2014

Banishing Back Pain with "Dual Purpose" Resolutions

I read an article recently that discussed the categories that most New Year's Resolutions fall into - and how most of us tend to ditch those New Year commitments by mid-January. Many things about the article struck me as I read it, including how a large majority of the resolutions cited can also help relieve back pain and set you up for better spine health in the future. If any of these are on your list, perhaps knowing that they're "dual purpose" in banishing back pain will help you stick to them well past January 15.

Lose Weight - This is number one on the New Year's Resolution list for most Americans. It has been clinically proven that losing excess body weight can have a host of health benefits. Did you know that among the most important ones is less stress and strain on your spine and other joints and muscles? It's true. In fact, some studies have even suggested that for those who are overweight, one pound of weight loss can have a ten-fold reduction on stress to the spine, joints and other large muscle groups. If you suffer from chronic back pain and weight loss is on your resolution list this year - stick with it. Your spine will thank you for it!

Exercise More - Most gyms and fitness clubs are packed with people come January 2. This resolution is also high on the list because it coincides with those weight-loss goals just about everyone has made. Like losing excess body weight, increasing your physical fitness can also have a positive effect on your spine health. Simple exercises like walking and swimming can be fantastic for your spine and easy to get into for beginners. Better yet, start doing some exercises that focus on strengthening your abdominal muscles. Your core guards your spine and keeping it strong can mean less frequent bouts of back pain too.

Eat Better - Between the holiday parties and family gatherings most of us engage in during the final few months of the year, we've consumed far more calories than we care to admit. We eventually begin to see that consumption manifest itself on our waist lines and many of us resolve to eat better in the New Year. The great news is that consuming a healthy diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables can also have a positive effect on spine health. You see, inflammation is often what makes a chronic spine condition worse. But studies have proven that a diet rich in certain foods (and avoiding certain others) can actually help reduce inflammation. Fatty fish, dark leafy greens and berries are just a few of the foods to add to your nutritional menu that will help protect your spine from inflammation in the process.

Quit Smoking - If you put this one on your list, you know you need to just do it. Simply put, smoking causes our bones to disintegrate, literally. If you're struggling with back pain and still smoking, quit now. Find a physician who can help guide you through a program that you can achieve success with. You may not realize it today, but your spine, bones and body will definitely thank you for it later.

Stress Less - I cringe as I write this only because I know it's easier said than done. But, life stress also causes our spines to stress out. I know very few people with back pain who say they also lead an "easy" lifestyle. The two just don't go hand-in-hand. But, if you can commit to healthier ways to stress less in the New Year, you may begin seeing the benefits to your spine health in no time. If you're looking for some healthy ideas, try yoga or meditation for example. Both can be great ways to channel stress for the greater good of your back, mind and body.

If any of the above "Top 5" New Year's Resolutions made it to your list this year, I encourage you to stick with them. Especially for those suffering from chronic back pain; I have seen complete reversal of symptoms in many cases where these types of considerable efforts were made. I hope that provides you some encouragement as you put in the hard work of honoring those New Year's Resolutions. Resoving to improve your spine and overall health is an important commitment no matter the time of year and I applaud you for making it.

I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year!