More than 100 billion neurons in your spinal cord and brain keep your nervous system firing on all systems. Your spine, spinal cord and brain make up your central nervous system, controlling everything in your body.
Your brain often gets all the attention for its role in maintaining a healthy body, but without your spine and spinal nerves, the signals from your brain would never reach the rest of your body. Think of your spinal nerves as the highways from your brain to the rest of your body. They spread out to the tips of your fingers like roads across a map.
Your Spine Protects You
Made up of 24 vertebral bones, your spine gives you mobility while it protects your spinal cord from damage. A healthy spine enables your quality of life. Three of the most important reasons to love your spine and spinal nerves include:
- Mobility and flexibility. Your spine allows you to bend, sit, twist, walk, run, jump — every movement you make. It gives you flexibility. And your spinal nerves deliver the electronic messages from your brain to the various muscles, making these movements possible. Next time you’re enjoying a walk in the park or playing catch, thank your spine.
- Daily routines are a breeze. Because of the way your spinal nerves, spine and brain communicate with one another, you can complete complicated tasks without consciously thinking about them. You can make coffee, walk the dog, drive to work and play sports without much conscious thought because your brain and spinal nerves work together effortlessly.
- Protection. Your spine protects the nerves that deliver the messages from your brain to keep you going. Biological functions like digestion, circulation, breathing and muscular systems work properly thanks to your spine.
When You Should See Your Spine Doctor
You should see your doctor if you experience any pain in your back. It may indicate a spinal issue that may become much worse. Symptoms that necessitate a visit to your spinal doctor include:
- Pain in your back that doesn’t go away. This could be an indicator that you have a slipped disk, which can worsen if left untreated.
- Shooting pain in your back, legs or arms. Shooting pain suggests that you might have something pressing on your nerves.
- Weakness, tingling or numbness in your arms and legs. You should make an appointment with your doctor at the Southeastern Spine Institute if you’re experiencing these symptoms because they’re likely connected to your spine.
- Pain in your back while sleeping. If back pain increases at night, this is could be a sign of issues with your spine.
- Fever with back pain. This is the sign of an infection. You need to see a doctor immediately.
Spine injuries and conditions should be taken seriously because your spine protects your nerves, and your nerves make everything in your body work.
Tips to Care for Your Spine
There are a number of lifestyle choices you can make to help maintain a healthy spine. To maintain the youthful ability of movement, flexibility and quality of life, take care of your body with simple daily choices such as:
- Stretching regularly to prevent injury
- Eating more fish and other foods with omega-3 oils
- Performing spine-strengthening exercises
- Spending some time in the sun to increase vitamin D intake, which strengthens your bones
- Taking vitamin K supplements or eating dark leafy greens, such as kale
- Wearing shoes that are good for your spine
- Getting therapeutic massages
- Practicing good posture when sitting
- Limiting your sitting time – maybe try a standing laptop
Talk with your doctor about tips, methods and techniques. Help protect your spinal nerves.