Dr. Craig W. Brue, DC
I want to tell you a short story about a patient that has frequent episodes of lower back pain. In spite of going to the gym on a very regular basis, this patient continues to have significant flare-ups of back spasms, restricted movements and lower back pain. During a recent office visit, I told the patient that he should consider a walking program. This was his response to my suggestion, “I don’t like to walk. It’s too hot.” I told the patient, “You need a dog.”
In addition to walking more, most patients need to consider periodic care for back and neck conditions. Of course, it’s always a good idea to come in for care when you are having back pain, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to attempt to prevent the problem from recurring? This is what I like to tell my patients about maintenance and preventive care: “Just because you have your teeth cleaned doesn’t mean that you can stop brushing your teeth. Likewise, one or two spinal adjustments won’t last forever. Periodic chiropractic adjustments are necessary to maintain your spinal health.”
The simple fact about spinal health is this: spinal problems are usually structural or biomechanical, not muscular; so, exercise alone seldom addresses the underlying cause of spinal pain. Even world-class athletes have back pain and seek professional chiropractic care.
Having said that, I also want you to know that, in addition to chiropractic adjustments, exercise will help to stabilize and protect your spine. Every day I tell patients that the more they do, the healthier they will be and the longer they will live. And, the worst thing that you can probably do for back pain is prolonged sitting.
In a recent article, Walking May Be Key for a Longer, Healthier Life, Dr. Joseph Mercola, a health and wellness physician, writes about the detrimental effects of sitting all day. Here are a few highlights from his article.
1. The World Health Organization now lists inactivity as the fourth biggest killer of adults worldwide.
2. Those who sat for the longest periods of time on a daily basis were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease.
3. Six hours of uninterrupted sitting will effectively counteract the positive health benefits of a whole hour of exercise.
4. One hour of sitting can cut arterial blood flow in half.
5. Walking is a super food. As soon as you stand and move, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol are activated.
My final thought: If you can’t walk due to some significant health condition, at least get up from your chair. Move around, stretch, wiggle, bend or walk down the hallway. Little positive changes will often result in big health benefits. If you are really interested in improving your health, put an excellent chiropractor on your health and wellness team.
Dr. Craig Brue is an author, lecturer and chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, AZ.