Having a healthy spine is vital if you have any intention of leading an active, comfortable life; and even if you do not, it's still a good idea to look after it. The spine does more than simply support you whilst you're standing up or sitting down, it connects your brain to the rest of your body and makes it possible for you to move your limbs and feel physical sensations.
Though protected within the body, your spine can be damaged by external trauma, which depending on the severity can lead to paraplegia (paralysis below the arms), quadriplegia (paralysis above the arms), or even death. Though these are undoubtedly severe, it is not only external injuries that can damage your spine, as it is possible for spinal damage to occur due to an individual's actions, body shape and lifestyle.
The spine is made up of 33 individual bones, essentially stood on top of one another. These bones are called 'Vertebrae' and are connected by ligaments and muscles, which can be damaged, stressed and strained just as readily as every other muscle in your body can. The anatomy of your spine is complex, but most of the time back pain is caused by the muscles and ligaments being injured over time, and this can occur due to anything from sleeping on a bad mattress, using poor lifting techniques, or sitting on an uncomfortable chair at a low desk day after day.
At this point back pain is quite an easy ailment to address; simply buy a new mattress, lift with your legs (not your back), or get a new chair and an ergonomic monitor riser. If however you keep putting these areas under stress, the damage will become more pronounced and their effects – which can include spasms, back-lock, sensitivity and excruciating pain whenever you move – will become chronic.
The symptoms will worsen over time and will quickly become unbearable when the degradation of the muscles and ligaments cause the vertebrae to rub and grind against each other. The body will naturally deteriorate with age, and some people will develop issues with their spines (such as degenerative disc disease) irrelevant of how they have lived their lives, but treating your spine like a punching bag will only bring it on sooner, worsen the effects and possibly cause an ailment that you otherwise would not have had.
There are lots of things you can do to look after your spine, from daily exercises at your desk to minor lifestyle changes. A lot of young people, for example, will experience back pain as a result of having their backs arched for long periods of time whilst lying on a bed and watching TV. Their long-term discomfort could easily be avoided by sacrificing a portion of their short-term comfort and simply sit up rather than lie down. There are, after all, a lot of advantages to having a good posture.
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to the spine and how to look after it, but keep your eyes on the Desktop Innovations blog page or our various social media and you may just learn something that will save you a lot of pain, time and money in the years to come.