Tips for Better Spine Health

By Brian McMaster, D.C. at Signal Hill Chiropractic Center

Brian McMaster, D.C. at Signal Hill Chiropractic Center

Brian McMaster, D.C. at Signal Hill Chiropractic Center

Dr. Brian McMaster recently taught a Spine Health Class at The Kenwood by Senior Star. Dr. McMaster is the owner of the Chiropractic Center in Milford and has been in practice since 1994, with a degree from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, ON.

As we age, one of the best ways to take care of the spine is becoming aware of how you sit, stand, walk and change positions. Sounds easy, but it can be tricky initially. Here are some basic pointers to practice. The key is practicing them briefly and frequently so they become more familiar and comfortable to you.

Sitting Posture

Sitting Posture

Sitting from ground up (takes stress off the spine)

  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • Feet straight
  • Knees are inside the ankles, so you feel your inner thigh muscles turn on
  • Draw your navel toward your spine
  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down
  • Pull the front of your ribs down toward the front of the pelvis
  • Tuck your chin straight back with your jaws parallel to the ground
Standing Posture

Standing Posture

Standing from the ground up (takes stress off the spine)

  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • Feet straight
  • Curl the tips of your toes upward
  • Let the toe curl prompt you to shift your body weight back 2% to 3% degrees
  • Let your body straighten to regain balance, especially letting the back and buttocks relax and the stomach turn to stop you from falling backwards
  • Pull your shoulders back and down
  • Tuck your chin back
  • Visualize a string on top of your head pulling you upward
Walking Posture

Walking Posture

Walking (unwinding the spine)

Starting with the upright standing posture:

  • Step forward with one leg
  • Start the step forward by using the abdominal muscles first (above the pelvis) then the hip and then the thigh muscles
  • As you step forward with one leg, pull the same side shoulder blade back and down following through with a pull back from the arm
  • One you have reached with one leg forward and the same side arm back, relax that side and draw your attention to the other side and do the same thing
  • Alternate the arm and leg swings from right to left sides
  • This should create a rotation of the shoulders one way and the hips and pelvis the other way which creates counter rotation of the shoulder and pelvis twisting the spine in a healthy way with each stride

Changing Position (in a way in which the spine is stable)

  • Before initiating a movement to change your position you should draw your naval to your spine and tighten your pelvic floor (which is like trying to stop peeing in mid-stream)
  • Tightening these two areas contracts muscles that stabilize the spine. Keep these muscles tight throughout the transitional movement and then relax once you have gotten to the new position

Awareness of your body and posture can not only prevent injury but allow for better more efficient movements, which improve circulation to the spine making it strong, more resilient and healthier.

 

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