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How to Keep the Spinal Column and Disks Healthy

By Jacques Courseault ; Updated July 18, 2017

Back pain is one of the most common chronic pain conditions that doctors treat in the United States, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). A high percentage of people will have low back pain caused by a herniated disk. Your spinal column is made up of 24 vertebra and intervertebral discs. Your discs act as shock absorbers when you walk and increase the flexibility of your spinal column. Thus, keeping these disks healthy will prevent injury and maintain your range of motion. Follow these steps to maintain the health of your spinal discs.

  1. Perform aerobic and resistance exercise regularly. Walk three to five time per week and resistance train three times per week to slow age-related degeneration of the discs, recommends the Mayo Clinic. Check with your doctor before participating in high-impact physical activity if you have a prior back injury.

  2. Practice good posture to reduce the pressure on your spine and discs. Keep your spinal column in alignment when sitting and standing. Lift heavy weight with your knees and not your back.

  3. Manage your weight effectively to reduce excessive pressure placed on your spinal column. Reduce your caloric intake, and commit to performing regular exercise.

  4. Quit smoking to decrease your risk of back problems, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

  5. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you have an acute back injury or are experiencing chronic back problems that are not improving.

  6. Tip

    Strengthening your abdominal muscles will strengthen your core and add additional support to your back.

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