Dizziness. A spinning room. Lightheadedness. These can all be signs of poor balance and, quite frankly, can feel incredibly unnerving in daily life. Patients sometimes report feeling lopsided while walking. Or having to delay trips from an inability to drive. These kinds of symptoms have a nasty way of disrupting your safety and general well-being. Not to mention, it can be incredibly difficult to predict when symptoms may appear next.
If you’ve experienced these frightening episodes with poor balance, chances are you’ve already tried to figure out what’s going on. Many assume the episodes are related to reactions to medications or issues with the inner ear. But not always. What many people aren’t aware of is the role that a well-aligned spine plays in balance– and just how devastating a lack of alignment can be.
Just what is the connection between your spine health and balance, and what can you do to support both? Read on to find out.
Your Spine And Balance
Think of your spine as one of your body’s main anchors and protectors. Its job is to protect the spinal cord, the multitude of nerve roots that run through it, as well as several vital organs– that’s a healthy amount of very important work!
So, when the spine becomes compromised in any way, say through a misalignment, it causes a ripple effect. A misalignment in the spine means a break in the protection unit in some areas. These misalignments can negatively affect the central nervous system by interfering with proper nerve root activity along the spine. And, given the important role that the central nervous system plays in controlling proper communication with your entire body, a negative impact here can lead to more health concerns– including trouble with balance and coordination. In short, spinal misalignment can interfere with the nerve root activity needed to keep your central nervous system humming happily along.
Causes Of A Misaligned Spine
So, what causes a spine to become misaligned? The sometimes troubling aspect of this answer is that misalignments of the spine actually aren’t all that uncommon. In fact, many of us will experience some kind of misalignment from simple activities in our day-to-day lives. However, the difference between these misalignments being debilitating versus a minor inconvenience is often in how we approach spine care overall.
A misaligned spine is often caused by something seemingly simplistic: posture. How we hold ourselves throughout our days adds up– and if you are a sloucher, you’re actually putting your health at risk each day by succumbing to poor posture. Poor posture puts unnecessary stress on other muscles and ligaments that should be helping to keep your spine aligned and in good health.
Unfortunately, the risk of these misalignments increases with age. As we get older, our bodies begin to undergo more and more wear, meaning that some of the protective mechanisms built in to protect our spines are no longer quite as strong as they once were. Thus, as we age, proper posture and spinal care become that much more important.
Exercises To Support A Healthy Spine
Spinal health requires consistency and patience. We’ve included a few exercises here, all great options to build into your weekly routine. Each movement works the muscles and ligaments that support your spine, which in turn, can help protect your spine from misalignment. Of course, it is always best to work with a medical professional to ensure that you’re on the right healing path for your specific needs.
Strengthen that core up! Holding a planking posture builds strength in your core and helps the muscles that surround your spine to become stronger.
To perform a plank, start on your hands and knees on the floor. Lower down to your forearms, tighten your core, and step both legs back, creating a straight line with your body. Hold this formation for 30-60 seconds before taking a break. Repeat 2-5 times.
Cat / Cow Exercise
A cat / cow exercise sequence helps to stretch and relieve pressure from your lower back all the way up to your shoulders. It’s a great exercise to retain mobility along your spine.
To perform this pose, begin on your hands and knees with your spine in a neutral position. Slowly drop your stomach toward the ground while you look slightly up. Pause for 1-2 seconds, and then slowly draw your chin in toward your chest while arching your back up toward the sky. Repeat this sequence 5-10 times, keeping your motions slow and controlled.
Brisk walking— not a leisurely stroll—helps to break up negative posture impacts from prolonged sitting. Inserting active movement into your day alleviates pressure in your lower back. (and your heart will thank you too!)
Begin your walk by taking a quick assessment of your posture. Make sure that your shoulders are back and down, your core is lightly engaged and set out at a brisk, yet sustainable pace. This faster-paced walking requires greater core control and can help you build some of the strength necessary to protect your spine.
How Chiropractic Can Help Correct Misalignments
Another great way to support your ongoing spine health is through consistent chiropractic care. Because our bodies are so interconnected, imbalances and misalignments in one area can often manifest in other areas of our body. That’s why misalignments of the spine – that often happen simply as a result of daily life – can create pressure and tension in the back that can compound and throw off your sense of balance. Through the use of gentle adjustments, chiropractic treatment helps to alleviate some of this pressure, while guiding your spine back into alignment.
When combined with an ongoing rehabilitation plan tailored to your needs, consistent chiropractic care can help give your body more support and speed your recovery process, safely. Additionally, your chiropractor can help ensure that there aren’t any missed diagnoses causing your bouts with dizziness. Your practitioner will develop a personalized treatment plan just for you, ensuring that you receive the best care to treat the cause of your pain.
Take back control of your balance– and life. Get healthy now. Schedule an appointment online or call (949) 649-8790.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.