What is Spinal hygiene and why it’s important

We all have some idea what Dental hygiene refers to. Since we were children it’s been a focus to get us to brush our teeth to look after them. Why? Because we want to have good dental health in our later years. By brushing and flossing we reduce the risk factors. So, we are taught to do this daily. We know the issues with not doing it.

Now let’s apply this to Spinal hygiene. If we start in early childhood to recognise, we need to look after our spines because we want great spinal health in our later years, we will need to do something daily. Right? So, what have you been taught about the spine? Why is it important to keep it healthy? What could go wrong? What can you do daily to reduce risk factors?

Let’s look at the role of the spine to see why it is so important.

Role of your spine.

1. Protect your spinal cord and surrounding structures

This is probably the most important role the spinal vertebrae play in the body.  They act as armour to protect the nervous system which controls everything that we do.

The spinal cord relays the messages from the brain to the body and then back to the brain allowing us to do well…everything!

When these vertebrae get out of their normal alignment, they can alter how the spinal nerves function.  This may cause dysfunction and lead to pain as well as a host of other symptoms.

It is important to keep the spine in proper alignment.  That is the main job of a chiropractor!

2. Provide the foundation for your posture

Without your spinal vertebrae, you would not be able to stand upright.  The vertebrae allow your body to be in balance and maintain an upright posture.

3. Enable you to move and bend

The spine allows you to bend, twist, turn and do all the motions that our amazing body is capable of.  Without it, we would be stiff as a board (even though you may probably feel like that anyway).

Your spine is an amazing structure that is so important to your health.  It is important to get your spine regularly checked by a chiropractor.  

Everyone’s spine needs to experience good health for good function to occur. When it experiences poor health, it might lead to degeneration of the vertebrae and or discs. These are permanent changes is the structural integrity of the spinal column. Therefore, unable to provide the three basic functions – loss of protection, poor posture, and reduced movement.

Spinal hygiene is a daily habit

So, what can everyone do daily, like the simple act of brushing your teeth, to help reduce the risk factors? Let’s make a start with a set of simple spinal hygiene exercises. Here is Nicole our resident Remedial Massage Therapist from Hand to Heal Massage and fitness. Nicole is taking you through these exercises. Take a moment to review these and read the following notes.

Please note: before starting any exercise please check with either myself or Nicole if there are any issues with you doing these exercises. They are designed to be basic, however everyone is different, and we are able to give you moderate and advanced forms should you need them.

Start all exercises in a neutral position.

All movement should be in a slow and controlled manner. There should be no bouncing at the end of the range of movement.

Start by holding each exercise for a count of 5. Progress slowly to increase the number and duration of each exercise.

These are designed as a simple routine to be done in the morning.

Morning Spinal Hygiene Routine

Exercise 1

Set up in the correctly aligned position with feet and hip facing forward.

With a straight back place your hands on your knees and gently bend forward.

Hold this position for a count of 5.

Try to do at least 3 to begin with.

Exercise 2

Recheck your alignment

Laterally flex (bend to either side) and hold this position for a count of 5.

Try to do at least 3 to begin with on both sides.

Exercise 3

Recheck your alignment

Cross your arms and put your hands on your shoulders.

Slowly rotate your trunk to one side.

Hold this position for a count of 5.

Try to do at least 3 to begin with on both sides.

Exercise 4

Recheck your alignment

Open your arms out to either side of your body.

Slowly look up and lean backwards.

Take your arms back as you lean backwards.

Hold this position for a count of 5.

Try to do at least 3 to begin with.