Keeping Your Spinal Discs Healthy
Your body has 24 spinal discs and 33 vertebrae (which help protect your spinal nerves). When discs
are healthy, they are thick, flexible and comfortable. When they’re unhealthy, dehydrated and thin,chronic back pain from degenerative disc disease could be in your near future!
Luckily, disc degeneration and chronic back pain can be prevented. You can influence how healthy
your intervertebral discs are! Follow our trips below to keep your spinal discs in top shape.
1. Stay Hydrated
Your discs are primarily made up of water. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking at least eight 8 ounce
glass of water daily. Without water, they lose their spongy nature and increase your risk for disc
degeneration. Sipping water throughout the day – as well as avoiding dehydrating beverages like soda,
tea, or coffee – will greatly increase your spinal disc health.
2. Practice Good Posture & Use Your Legs to Lift
Poor posture means higher levels of stress on the spine. When posture is appropriate (proud chest,
natural lumbar curve, tight core, retracted shoulder blades, etc.) – then we’re able to handle higher
amounts of compressive force. Keep your shoulders back and aligned. Use your stomach muscles to
keep your body straight. Keep your head up and look forward. Be aware of your posture as you use
technology. Your discs are designed to flex with your movement, but extended periods of poor posture
can cause them to dehydrate unevenly.
Lengthy periods of sitting causes a compressive force on the disc which prevents osmosis, leading to
low back pain. According to a 1983 study, after four hours of flexed posture, the fluid of the annulus
(the outer fibers) are dehydrated by 15%, but in correct posture, it only loses 10% of its fluid. Simply
sitting properly not only prevents excess fluid loss, but improves nutrient flow to the disc.
Use Your Legs to Lift – Learn how to lift items using your legs and not your back. Strengthen your
core muscles. A strong core increases stability in back muscles and encourages proper body mechanics.
3. Exercise Regularly
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It creates an up and down movement called osmosis,
which is how your discs absorb the nutrients it needs. Consistent exercise for 50 minutes, 5 days per
week – helps naturally regenerate cells in intervertebral discs. Simple put, your spinal discs don’t have
a good blood supply. Just using your discs through motion serves as a pump to keep fluids with key
nutrients moving. Since discs naturally degenerate over time, any action you take to keep them
functional rather than stagnating and shrinking is helpful.
• Resistance training helps build strength and endurance, helping activate weaker areas.
• Mobility training helps improve flexibility in tight areas.
4. Keep Muscles Balanced
Muscle imbalances are caused by one group of muscles becoming too tight, while opposing muscles
become stretched and weak. That too-tight muscles can pull the spine out of alignment, leading to
extended periods of poor posture. You can identify and correct muscle imbalances through simple but
targeted stretches and exercises.
Single leg exercises help develop the lower body and challenge the lower back and hips, building
balance and function. We tend to be weak and imbalanced on extension movements because we do
5. Lose Weight and Stop Smoking
Weight loss will help reduce the overall load on your spinal discs. Maintaining a healthy body weight
can make movement easier, and allows your body to get the nutrients it needs. Smoking reduces
calcium absorption and prevents new bone growth. Nicotine restricts the flow of oxygen and nutrients
in your blood stream. Scientists have also found that “cigarette smokers have an increased risk of low
back pain which may be caused by disc degeneration and spinal instability.”
Spinal health is so important for your day-to-day interactions. Give yourself a leg up by packing your
diet with these seven healthy foods: protein, vegetables, salmon, dairy products, herbs and spices, fruits
6. Sleep Well
Sleeping as many hours as you can on your back gives your discs maximum time to unload and
7. Chiropractic Adjustments
Researchers in Spain looked at 40 men with diagnosed degenerative disc disease. Half of the men were
treated with corrective adjustments, while the other half received a placebo treatment that did not adjust
the spine.The study found that the patients who received the adjustments:
•Reported less pain
•Had increased spinal mobility
•Had better hip flexion
•Had a significant, measurable increase in height
If you would like to learn more about how regular chiropractic adjustments can keep you healthy, pain
free and on top of your game, give us a call today!
For questions or comments contact:
Dr. Fred Dietzen
Evoke Spinal Care
140 Gregory Lane, Suite 195
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Take advantage of all the benefits cold laser therapy has to offer today!
$65 a Session or $450 for a 10 Pack Series
Not sure if you need one or more laser treatment? Talk to Dr. Fred for more information.
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