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Spinal Hygiene Is Now More Important Than Ever…And Here Is Why

Dr. Chad Robertson explains why spinal hygiene is so important to pay attention to.

Update: While technology offers us the freedom to work remotely at times, coronavirus has made it a semi-permanent situation for many. With it comes a host of challenges for the body (extra prolonged sitting, shorter commute to the commode, etc.) that many don’t realize until it is too late. We thought it would be helpful to update this article so you can stay on top of your spinal hygiene. If you have started to notice neck and back tightness, please reach out to us for a check-up. 

Recently there has been a mainstream focus toward becoming more active with our lifestyle and daily routine. Maybe its counting one’s steps, or a New Year’s resolution to run a 5K, or a weight-loss goal.

All of that is great, however Americans are still more obese and “out of shape” than ever before and it’s stemming from a multitude of reasons.

One major contributing factor of our unhealthy behavior is consuming an unhealthy diet, but that is a topic for another time. In my opinion, an equally great concern threatening our health and our future is one aspect of society that is intended to actually improve our lifestyle…but is simultaneously making us less healthy.

Any ideas what it is???

Well the answer is Technology.

The Ironic Nature of Technology

Think for a moment about what technology provides for us. It promotes less effort to accomplish tasks easier and faster while it contributes to increased sedentary behaviors. As a population in general, we are all less active than people were even one generation ago.

Technology, by making our lives easier, has made us less active and that behavior has taken a negative toll on people of all ages. Technology contributes to people moving less which contributes to increased weight gain and promotes reduced function in the body. The reason for this de-conditioning of the body is best demonstrated by the exercise physiology theory known as the SAID Principle.

SAID stands for:

  • Specific
  • Adaptations to
  • Imposed
  • Demands.

In other words, the body will adapt to whatever challenges, or lack of challenge, it is presented with and accommodate accordingly. The body can modify itself to become stronger with repetition or it can be allowed to become weaker by limiting daily challenge to the body.

The body is designed for movement and often we feel our best during or after a period of elevated activity. When we move less day to day and form patterns of inactivity or poor positioning, the body will adapt to that influence. The body will adapt positively when healthy habits are introduced as well as adapt to poor habits that can influence the body in a negative way.

Recently, there is a new diagnosis that has become popular slang and been noticed more prevalent in younger populations, Tech Neck. This occurs when the natural spinal curve of the neck becomes abnormally reduced or flattened due to looking down too often or too long at a smartphone or computer with the chin close to the chest.

This position places more stress on the muscles, bones and ligaments of the neck and will contribute to advanced degenerative changes in the cervical spine over time. As the name suggests, Teck Neck, has a direct correlation to the body adapting negatively to technology.

We All Lose Flexibility Over Time

Each day, without adequate movement or hydration, the body loses a small amount of flexibility. We get “tighter” over time and this can be a natural adaptation as our bodies age. However, with less physical activity earlier in life, our bones and joints move less throughout their natural ranges of mobility and our natural progression toward becoming tight and stiff occurs much earlier in life and at a faster pace.

A recent study from Chiropractic Economics suggest that 4 out of every 10 people in their 20’s demonstrate some form of premature spinal degeneration or arthritis due to their use of technology or lack of exercise.

There has been a proven link between the technology-dependent sedentary positioning and spinal decay. Spinal decay can be prevented, but once established it’s a permanent alteration in function that cannot be reversed. The body needs to move often to maintain this ideal function.

The analogy I like to use is when you purchase a new car.  If you change the oil, keep the engine clean and put good gas in the tank that engine will run great. However, if you park that new car outside and don’t start it for 18 months, that same car is not going to have an engine that runs optimally. Our bodies need to be active for optimal function.

Adults, of course, suffer from this lack of function on a more obvious scale due to their job. But with children skipping sports and outdoor play for more inactive options like video games and binge-watching on Netflix, it’s become more important than ever to take steps now to improve physical mobility before permanent deficits arise.

How to be Proactive with Your Spinal Hygiene

Aside from encouraging more activity, what else can be done as a proactive step toward a healthier adult population?

Currently our contemporary sedentary lifestyle and the unhealthy side effects that accompany it has caused doctors to take notice. Sitting is equivalent to the problem of smoking that plagued America for decades. We are aware of potential long term problems that can arise yet it is difficult to make the appropriate changes to break the pattern of inactivity due to our dependency on technology.

Chiropractors are trained to help naturally restore deficient spinal mobility that accompanies inactivity and to help prevent spinal decay before it occurs. Although there are many different aspects and subsets of chiropractic theories and care, all chiropractors understand and agree that ideal mobility of the spinal joints and muscles is critical to ideal function.

Without adequate movement in the spine, the spine decays.  We need to make Spinal Hygiene or Spinal Wellness Care a mainstream idea so that it becomes an expected practice to have one’s spine checked regularly to maintain and promote proper spinal movement and function much like we visit the Dentist twice a year to ensure healthy teeth and gums.

If we fail to act now and recognize the signs of an unhealthier future, our current and next generations will pay the price of permanent spinal dysfunction.

Let us customize a Spinal Hygiene plan for you

At Queen City Chiropractic & Sports Performance we pride ourselves on creating specific, individualized wellness plans for any patient who has interest in improving their level of health and wellness.  Keeping people well is where we excel.  You might just be shocked at how good you can feel with improved spinal hygiene and wellness care. Make an appointment today!