16 October 2015

South Africans urged to move their spines

When it comes to your spine, it is important to be proactive, says an expert on World Spine Day.

In order to be truly well, spinal health must be a priority, according to Dr Robert Delgado, a registered Chiropractor and Certified Wellness Practitioner.

He made the remarks in light of World Spine Day on Friday October 16 2015. This year's theme is ‘Your back at work’.

Dr Delgado pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation 37% of all cases of back pain are related to certain occupational risks.

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Effective movement of the spine charges the brain and the brain controls the entire body, he said.

Dr Delgado explained that every spinal joint has receptors called proprioceptors that send signals through the nervous system up the brain.

“The brain uses these signals to assess where the body is in space.”

While the brain controls and regulates the physiology and the emotions of our entire body, it does so mainly through electrical impulses, but it can only produce between 10-20 percent of its electrical energy, said Dr Delgado.

“The rest of its electricity is generated through movement, specifically the stimulation of proprioceptors that send electricity into the brain where it can then be used to sustain life in us.

"When our spines become stiff or misaligned our brains become deficient in this vital stimulus, which negatively affects mental and physical performance.”

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Dr Delgado noted that physical, chemical and emotional stress causes areas of tension to develop in the spine.

“These stressors can include falls, sports injuries, desk work, car accidents, poor diet, anxiety and other emotional stressors.”

Dr Delgado provided soome tips for people to ensure their spines are moving in a health way.

"Partake in spinal hygiene exercises daily that promote flexibility and strength." He said these should include range of motion exercises like rotating your head side to side and bending your ear towards your shoulder.

He said core strengthening exercises like plank are also important. "Before starting any exercise routine please consult a health professional to make sure its safe," Dr Delgado cautioned.
He recommended that South Africans following a healthy lifestyle by reducing their physical chemical and emotional stress.

When it comes to the work place, it is important to not sit at the desk all the time. "For every 30 minutes of desk work: sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes and move around for 2 minutes," he said.

Another simple tip is to increase the amount of movement in a day by parking further away, taking the stairs instead of the lift etc.

Dr Delgado noted that it is a good idea for people to have their spinal alignment and movement checked by a chiropractor regularly.

Areas of spinal tension can often occur without any apparent symptoms so regular check-ups are essential, he added.

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