Your spine is naturally designed to help you move and maintain optimal range of motion and flexibility. This ability is especially beneficial for athletic activities, but it can be just as useful for gardening, cooking, work-related movements, and other everyday tasks. As you get older, your backbone and its supporting parts can become less flexible. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to maintain or improve your spine’s range of motion.
A simple and effective way to maintain spinal range of motion is with exercise, which can include daily walks, low-impact aerobics, or water-based activities like swimming. These types of general exercise boost circulation and straighten the spine-supporting soft tissues that play a role in flexibility. Get the most out of spine-beneficial exercise by:
A group of muscles called the intermediate intrinsic back muscles directly help with daily spinal movements. While you’ll want to target these muscles as you exercise, it’s just as important to pay attention to core muscle groups that provide indirect spinal support and ease stress on your backbone. Core muscles are deeper within your trunk, and they include muscles in your abdominal region as well as ones that extend into your pelvic area.
A safe, relaxing, and invigorating way to boost spinal range of motion is with yoga. It’s a discipline that can supplement other forms of exercise you do to maintain the flexibility of your spine. Yoga itself helps you achieve this goal with:
Flexibility isn’t just about how you move—it’s also about what you eat and drink. If you’re not eating fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and other healthy things, you’ll be more likely to have issues with inflammation. This is the type of tissue swelling that can affect range of motion by making movements painful. Excess weight can also affect flexibility, as can lack of sufficient hydration. Aim for a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of water to ensure your spinal tissues function properly.
Poor posture places extra stress on certain parts of the spine in a way that could pinch nerves and do other things that may affect flexibility. A good starting point with posture is to get into the habit of keeping your head aligned with your shoulders. It can also be helpful to:
Lastly, see your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon if you notice sudden or worsening issues with spinal range of motion. Even if it’s nothing too serious, a doctor can give you additional tips based on your needs and any issues you may have with your spine.
Get in touch with The Spine Institute if you suspect you’re having issues with spinal range of motion or severe back or neck pain. Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons specialize in helping patients find effective relief for their chronic back and neck pain with a variety of methods, including alternatives to spinal fusion. Los Angeles patients should call 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.