Hips, knees and even shoulders can be replaced, but you’ll have the spine you were born with all your days on this earth. That makes it very important to take particularly good care of your spine, especially if you have other health issues. Taking care of your spine as a senior means following a couple of important tips to optimize your health and minimize any spinal pain. Remember: before undertaking any new physical activity, including stretching, it’s a good idea to first talk to your doctor about what you can safely manage.
Pay Attention to Your Posture
When you were a child, adults all around you probably admonished you with orders like “don’t slouch” and “stand up straight.” What was annoying in your adolescence is important in your golden years. Take a full day to make observations about your posture throughout all your activities. Take note when you’re standing stationary, walking quickly, walking slowly, using a walker or cane if that is necessary, sitting in a comfortable chair and sitting in a straight chair. Whenever you catch yourself slumping over, not holding yourself straight or engaging in other poor posture habits, take the opportunity to immediately make a correction.
Extend this improvement activity even further by making written observations about your own posture. Then, turn that into an actionable list of things you can do differently each day until better posture becomes a habit. If any items on the list aren’t easily corrected or leave you concerned — such as a hump on your upper back or pain caused when trying to correct your posture — make an appointment to discuss them with your health practitioner.
Take Time to Stretch Several Times Daily
Problems with your spine could result because the supporting structure around your spine has tightened over time. When you take the opportunity to stretch often, those ligaments, tendons and muscles loosen a bit while working to better support you throughout your daily activities.
Synchronize your stretching exercises with your daily meals to help you remember. Whenever you're getting ready to sit down at the table, first take a few moments to perform the following stretches:
- Reach your hands over your head, straight up, as far as comfortable. Hold them there for a count of five, and then spread your arms out, slowly creating a circle while lowering them back to your sides.
- Put your hands on your hips and first bend sideways to the left. Hold for a few seconds, and then straighten and repeat to the right. Next, bend forward as far as comfortable and then backwards in the same manner.
- Hold your arms straight out to the side at shoulder height and twist first to the left, holding for a few beats, then to the right.
Undergo Appropriate Testing Whenever Recommended
As we age, it becomes important to undergo tests like bone density scans to detect whether any underlying structural issues may be present. Your physician may also recommend other testing like CAT scans and MRIs if any issues are suspected. Early detection is extremely important to diagnosing physical issues with your back and determining appropriate responses through physical therapy and other modalities to restore your health and prevent any future issues from forming.
We care very much about your health here at Bethesda Gardens in Fort Worth. Our medical staff can help you figure out issues, answer questions or connect you with the exercise classes we offer on property. Remember that we also offer fall-prevention evaluation and programs to ensure any issues you may have with your spine don't cause you to experience any accidents.
Posted on Tue, August 21, 2018
by Shawn Deane