The spinal cord forms a vital part of the body and we all know that we couldn’t survive without it but the spinal cord is all too often taken for granted. We put pressure on it, twist it and bend it and balance at difficult angles. When we have a problem with our backs the pain can be excruciating.
Understanding more about your spinal cord and what it’s full function is can help you avoid potential problems that could affect your health and wellbeing in the future.
What is the Spinal Cord?
To put it simply, our spine is a cylinder of nerves that are wrapped in bone. The bone is split into segments which are called vertebrae with cushions between each one to aid movement and flexibility. The spinal cord has two main functions:
- It conducts sensory information from peripheral areas of the body such as the fingers and toes back to the brain.
- It transports messages from the brain to areas like muscles and glands so that our bodies can move and function properly.
The spinal cord is divided into several different sections: the neck, the thoracic spine, the lumbar region around the lower back, the sacral area at the bottom of the pelvis and the coccygeal or tailbone. From these, nerves spread out to all areas of the body.
Common Back Problems at Our Ealing Chiropractor Clinic
As well as the basic construction of the spinal cord, you also have a series of muscles, ligaments and tendons wrapped around this area which can also be affected when there is a back injury.
Lower back pain is a condition that we often see in our Ealing chiropractor clinic. It can involve both damage to the structure of the spine as well as problems with the muscles, for example, when they contract strongly to protect the area or get torn because of an injury.
Slipped discs are another relatively common back problem. This is where the material cushioning the vertebrae, the discs of cartilage, press on a nearby nerve. Sciatica is another common issue where the nerve which runs from the pelvis to the feet is irritated.
How to Look After Your Spine
Unfortunately, most of us don’t give our spine a second thought until we suddenly start to suffer from serious pain. That’s strange when you consider it’s the most important, and possibly one of the most delicate, parts of the body.
Here are our top tips for maintaining spinal health:
- Exercise regularly: You’ve heard it before but exercise really is good for us. If you want to focus specifically on your spine and posture, try something like yoga.
- Pay attention to your posture: Many of the back problems our Ealing chiropractor treats stem from poor posture. Sitting properly and not slouching will improve back health and prevent problems.
- Learn to lift: If you’ve ever picked up a heavy object and felt a sharp twinge in your back, you’re not alone. Most of us don’t lift properly and that can cause issues either immediately or further down the line.
- Walk a lot: Rather than getting in the car or sitting around watching TV, go for a walk. It’s good for spine health and your overall wellbeing.
- Sleep properly: Another area where back issues can develop is in the bedroom. Poor sleeping practices and bad mattresses will put pressure on your posture.
- Eat well: As with all things in life, a healthy diet can pay huge dividends, not least in your spinal health.
If you do find yourself in pain and having trouble with your back, it’s important to get yourself checked out straight away. Our Ealing chiropractor at The Spine & Joint Centre is here to help you – you can contact our clinic to book an appointment.