Embracing graceful ageing: A guide to maintaining a healthy spine 

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The spine is a remarkable structure comprised of vertebrae, discs, and joints that work in harmony to support our bodies.  

Spinal changes as we age 

Spinal health is crucial because the spine controls the body’s vital functions. The spine not only provides structural support, but also protects the spinal cord and the nerve roots that assist our movement and everyday life. As we age, however, several changes occur that can affect the spine. 

Loss of disc height 

The discs between our vertebrae lose water content over time, leading to a reduction in disc height. This can result in decreased shock absorption and an increased risk of conditions like osteoarthritis. (This reduction of the distance between vertebrae is also why we get shorter as we age.) 

Reduced bone density 

Ageing often leads to a gradual decrease in bone density, making the spine more susceptible to fractures and degenerative changes. 

Weakening of muscles and stiffening of joints 

The muscles supporting the spine may weaken with age, affecting stability and contributing to issues like poor posture. Similarly, the facet joints, responsible for allowing movement between vertebrae, can experience wear and tear, leading to stiffness and reduced flexibility. 

Promoting spinal health as we age 

It is important to note that while the changes listed above are a natural part of ageing, there are ways to mitigate their effects. It is also important to note that back, shoulder, or neck pain is not ‘normal’ – just because we are ageing does not mean that pain becomes the norm. Indeed, resigning to the idea that pain is just part of the ageing process is a common misconception I would like to dismantle here and now! 

Positive steps to maintain a healthy and flexible spine 

Stay active 

Engaging in regular physical activity, including exercises that promote flexibility and strength, is crucial for spine health. Activities such as walking, swimming, and yoga can all be beneficial. 

Maintain good posture 

We know that good posture is important, so be ever mindful of your posture, especially when sitting for extended periods. Invest in an ergonomic chair or a standing desk, and take care of your spine when driving long distances

Stay hydrated and nourished 

Adequate hydration is essential for maintaining the water content in your spinal discs, while a well-balanced diet rich in calcium and other nutrients supports overall bone health. 

Quit smoking 

If you are a smoker, here is yet another reason to quit! Smoking can accelerate the ageing process and contribute to spine-related issues. Quitting smoking can have positive effects on both your spine and overall health. 

Chiropractic care 

Regular chiropractic adjustments can play a vital role in maintaining spine health. Chiropractors specialise in addressing musculoskeletal issues, promoting proper spinal alignment as you age, and alleviating discomfort. Remember: there is no such thing as being adjusted ‘too often’ or ‘too soon’

Contact a Northcote Chiropractor for your spinal health 

Embracing the aging process includes prioritising the health of our spines. By understanding the changes that occur as we age and taking proactive steps to care for our spines, we can enjoy better mobility, reduced discomfort, and an improved overall quality of life. 

If you are concerned about the health of your aging spine or are experiencing discomfort, make an appointment with Northcote Health and Wellness today. Bookings can be made via our simple online booking system or give us a call if you have any questions. 

📍108 High Street, Northcote 
☎️ (03) 8899 6370 

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