Spinal degeneration refers to any breakdown or structural change in our spinal discs and vertebrae. The degeneration is virtually always the result of our chronic muscle tension, posture, and how we move and use our body on a regular basis.
Spinal degeneration can occur at any age, but the rate increases with age simply because the longer we misuse our body, the more likely it is to gradually break down.
Spinal Degeneration is NOT Inevitable
The good news is that spinal degeneration is not inevitable. If we maintain healthy, balanced posture and movement throughout our lives, we should suffer little to no spinal degeneration. The problem is that because of muscle memory, the automatic way that our nervous system learns and remembers muscular patterns, we tend to build up chronic muscle tension and gradually adopt dysfunctional posture and movement habits over time. It takes a great deal of conscious attention, awareness, and movement training to avoid developing these issues.
For example, let’s say you have a job that requires heavy lifting. Not only do you put repetitive strain on your lumbar spine every day, but over time the muscles in your lower back become increasingly tight. The tight muscles compress your spine, bringing your vertebrae closer together and putting pressure on your intervertebral discs and facet joints.
This compression causes the discs to slowly break down and become displaced, and the cartilage in the facet joints to wear away. Once this protection is gone, bone spurs develop on the vertebrae in order to stabilise the joints. Bone spurs, herniated discs, and thickened ligaments can cause stenosis, a narrowing of the spaces through which the spinal cord and spinal nerves pass. When the spinal cord or spinal nerves are impinged, you may experience pain, numbness, weakness, and balance or walking issues.
You can prevent and alleviate spinal degeneration by –
• regularly seeing health professionals such as Physiotherapist, Chiropractor and Exercises Physiologist;
• incorporating variety of flexibility, strength, endurance, cardio exercises depending upon your lifestyle such as our PHYSIOFUSION FLOW classes; and
• practising mind-body techniques such as meditation, yoga and tai-chi.
Remember, spinal degeneration is not an inevitable part of the aging process! The more you are able to keep your core muscles released and your posture and movement balanced, the less likely you will be to suffer the painful effects of spinal degeneration. CONTACT our physiotherapist at Vitality Way today to assist you with preventing and alleviating spinal degeneration.
How to Prevent and Alleviate Spinal Degeneration by Sarah Warren, Clinical Somatic Education.