Where two or more bones meet, you have a joint. These crucial bony meeting points around the body hold us upright and protect nerves and blood vessels. The spine has 33 pairs of nerves which, in the average adult, are protected by 24 vertebrae (we’re born with 33, but the ones at the base of the spine usually fuse together as we grow up). Those vertebrae form 364 joints, connecting to themselves and other structures such as the ribs, skull and sacrum.
The nerves protected by the vertebrae and running round the vertebral joints flow down from the brain and connect to the entire body. Care of your back is absolutely essential for health and wellbeing. So it’s easy to see how important those joints are; but unfortunately back pain will affect about 80% of us at some point in our lives.
So how should you keep your joints healthy?
- Aim for a healthy weight. Being overweight puts a strain on all your joints: your back as well as your hips, knees and ankles.
- Keep moving. If you can, stretch every single day. Always warm up for 3-5 minutes before you stretch fully. Remember, never stretch cold muscles.
- Load-bearing exercises are great for building muscles that stabilise and strengthen those joint connections.
- Don’t forget about diet. Fuel your body with lean proteins and foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D, such as dairy products and other fortified foods. Fish, such as salmon and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation in your joints.
To help with joint dysfunction and maintain a healthy spine, chiropractic adjustments are a non-invasive way to look after your back. Chiropractors work primarily with the facet joints of the spine (these are sometimes compared to ‘knuckles’, almost like puzzle pieces holding the spine together). Adjusting the spine can help take the pressure off the joints and correct the minute misalignments which lead to muscular and nerve pain.
Come and see us for a check up to find out more. We’re always happy to see you.