Maintaining a Healthy Back
Aging can be scary, but there are ways to maintain your body and health during the process. Structural changes to the joints and discs of our spine is a natural aging process. Similar to the brake pads of a car, these structures often become thinner as we age which can increase our likelihood of back pain and mobility challenges. Spinal joints and bones require appropriate loading for tissue health and integrity – movement is essential. Most often through behavior and structural changes, people tend to become limited with spinal motion in extension or bending backward. This can perpetuate structural strain and wear as well as secondarily impact one’s balance and increase adjacent strain leading to neck or leg problems.
Maintaining a healthy back, like other joints of the body requires maintaining mobility. The challenge can be getting started. As a joint becomes stiffer it can be achy moving into a stiff direction – often extension. Remember frequency is more important than force and appropriate activity pacing or advancement is most important. With most exercise we have good intentions, overdo it, hurt then stop.
Start easy by increasing your walking time, trying to stand tall for 10 seconds exaggerating an upright posture. Pool classes are also great options, reducing the load/ stress on the spine reducing the likelihood of overuse/pain with exercise progression. Due to personal variability, the safest, most efficient way to get started is to consult a physical therapist for guidance. A proper physical examination helps identify areas for improvement and what to protect or progress more slowly to avoid injury and setbacks. Anyone can get started – just need to start at your level. Stop by, find your level and get started.
If you are interested in physical therapy or an aquatic class to keep your body strong as you age, contact us today! Call us at 616-935-3300 to schedule an appointment.