Manage Your Spine Health the Way You Would Your Finances

I'll make you a bet. In the last 6 months have you thought about your finances, spoken to a financial advisor, or talked about your retirement? I would wager a guess that you have put more thought into your future financial health than your future personal health.  
Senior couple meeting with agent or advisorI recently wrote a colum on the great health blog Enabling Health Decisions. In it, I talk about changing the way we think about our personal health. Check it out if you have a chance. I bring this up because the same rules apply to back pain.  

When we save for retirement, we make concious everyday decisions to sacrifice a small part of our current life for the benefit of our future life.  This happens via 401k contributions, pensions, and even social security.  

Think about it, these small contributions over time result in security later in life.  As back pain sufferers, we can learn from this.

What are the small everyday strategies you can employ to invest in the health of your spine?  I've written about them before (see my post 5 Strategies to Help You Take Control of Your Pain), but here are a few.

  • Walk.  That's right.  It's that simple.  In the morning or during lunch, or even after the kids are in bed, walk.  And it doesn't have to be around in the block.  It can be standing in front of the TV walking in place.  I went out and bought a pedometer and make sure I walk 10,000 steps every day.  You will be surprised how effective this can be.  Do it 5 times a week every week, and you will lose weight, taking pressure off of your spine.
  • Think about your posture.  Whether your slumped on the couch or have bad ergonomics at work, if you are more conscious of your posture you will correct it when it's bad (like I just did at my desk while typing this).
  • Stretch.  When you wake up, do some basic stretches for your back.  I have 4 that I like to do.  You can find a ton on this site in our video section (try watching our video series 5 Back Stretches and Exercises to Keep a Healthy Back).  Do them at least 5 times a week, 2 times a day.  It will help

I could go on, but this post isn't about the strategies; it's about reframing your back problems in the context of the little things we do every day.  You can read more about all the little things you can do to invest in a healthier tomorrow in this post on healthy choices every day.

Regardless of what the strategies are you feel most comfortable with, talk to your doctor about what you should be doing to deal with your spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease or even your scoliosis.  I am sure they will help you choose some easy to follow techniques for making small deposits in your "health bank account."

Good luck!