Why is my spine important?
Your spine runs down the centre of your body from the base of your skull to your tailbone. It serves many important functions including:
- Protecting your spinal cord and related essential nerves which make up the central nervous system.
- Giving structure and connection for your hips, legs, shoulders and arms
- Serving as an attachment to muscles that enable movement
- Providing a framework and support for skull and ribs
Because the spine plays such a key role in the functions of the body, it is easy to see why proper spinal care is important to your overall health and wellness.
How do I know if I have a spinal condition? What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of an underlying spinal condition is back pain. Another give away that there is something wrong with your spine is if you are unable to participate in activities that you once enjoyed due to pain or mobility issues. Symptoms will vary depending on the extent of the injury and may take the form of:
- Back and/or neck pain
- Leg, arm and/or shoulder pain
- Gait or foot problems
- Balance issues/dizziness
- Mobility issues
- Neck stiffness
- Poor concentration or memory
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing these symptoms, talk to your chiropractor. They can determine if an underlying spinal condition exists.
Can children develop spinal conditions?
Yes, in fact spinal conditions can develop at all stages of life, from infant to senior.
Monitoring your spinal health should be as routine as checking your blood pressure and watching your diet. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an underlying spinal condition can help you identify an issue early before it becomes a bigger problem later in life.
What factors lead to spinal conditions?
There are three main factors which can lead to spinal conditions:
- Physical stress: Heavy lifting, repetitive action, poor posture, car accident, falls, dehydration.
- Chemical stress: Poor diet, alcohol, smoking, vitamin deficiency, medications.
- Emotional stress: Financial problems, marital/family issues, loss of loved ones, general depression.
I’ve been in a car accident. What are my recovery options?
Collisions can result in many different types of injuries. ICBC recognizes chiropractic treatment as an effective recovery method in patients with injuries involving the spine, including back and neck trauma. If you have been injured in a crash, contact your chiropractor as soon as possible. In most cases your treatment will be covered by ICBC. Get more information on chiropractic coverage through ICBC.
I was hurt at work. Where can I go for treatment?
Whether you have incurred an injury at work from repetitive motion strain or a slip and fall that has caused chronic pain, if your condition involves your back, neck or nerves, chiropractic may offer a solution. WorkSafeBC has partnered with the British Columbia College of Chiropractors to provide chiropractic care to workers injured on the job. If you have been hurt at work, talk to your chiropractor about a treatment plan that is right for you. Get more information on chiropractic coverage through WorkSafeBC.
I injured myself playing sports. How can I find relief from the pain?
If you are injured playing sports or doing any activity for that matter, you will most likely not be able to continue with what you enjoy due to pain and immobility. If you are experiencing symptoms of an underlying spinal condition as a result of your injury, ask your chiropractor if treatment can play a role in your recovery.
Good overall health is the first step towards making sure your spine stays healthy. Prevention is also key to long-term back health. Here are a few tips:
- Warm up and cool down before beginning physical activities such as running, sports and even gardening. Take a few minutes to stretch and ease into the activity.
- Be mindful of repeat motions such as shoveling or reaching. Take frequent breaks and when possible switch hands.
- Maintain good posture especially in situations where you are seated for a long period of time. Stand up periodically or take a short walk.
- When lifting heavy objects, pay close attention to the way you are lifting. Bend your knees, tuck in your pelvis and hug the load. Never reach for a heavy object.
- Maintain a healthy diet and limit sugar, caffeine and alcohol consumption. Drink plenty of water. Quit smoking.
- Ensure you get enough sleep each night.
- Manage emotional stress as best you can.
Chiropractors are highly educated in spine and related conditions. If you have a question about your spine or recovery that has not been answered, simply give them a call.