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Let's Talk About Spine Health

Your spine is important — it keeps you upright, flexible and moving. Vincent DePalma, DO, an orthopedic spine surgeon at CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Orthopedics in London, shared three tips to ensure better spine health.

  1. Put out the cigarettes. You may not consider blaming tobacco smoke for your back pain; however, smoking affects all areas of your health — including your spine. “Smoking decreases blood flow to the spine and causes disc degeneration,” Dr. DePalma said. “It takes serious dedication to quit, but you may see improvements in your blood circulation after only a few weeks of giving up smoking.”
  2. Exercise. Exercise keeps your spine healthy by strengthening your back and abdominal muscles. “Try including more aerobic exercise into your routine, such as a daily brisk walk or jog,” Dr. DePalma said. “Stretching and core strengthening exercises are also beneficial.”
  3. Watch your posture. Hunching over at a desk and sitting too long can hurt your spine. To save your posture, take frequent breaks throughout the day to stand up for a quick stretch. 

“Remember, it may be helpful to see a specialist for ongoing back pain that lasts longer than four to six weeks,” Dr. DePalma said. “This is especially true if you also experience weakness or pain in your legs and sweating or chills at night. A provider can check for something more serious.”

To learn more about orthopedic services and specialists at CHI Saint Joseph Health, visit Orthopedic Care.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2021 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

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