Do you find yourself getting shorter with age? As you age, your vertebral discs lose height, causing you to shrink up to ½ an inch or more. It’s just natural. However, what’s not natural is losing height due to poor posture. This can happen at any age, depending on how sedentary your lifestyle is, injuries or diseases. The rounding of your upper back is called thoracic kyphosis. In adults with low activity levels, low bone density, injury or even genetic predisposition, thoracic kyphosis can be quite pronounced.
Excessive thoracic kyphosis puts you at higher risk for spinal fractures, neck pain, low back pain, breathing difficulties and even digestive problems. The good news is that by restoring your posture, you can increase your height and improve the way you look in a relatively short period of time. The secret to success is doing the right kind of exercises to stretch and strengthen the spine. Furthermore, special hands-on techniques performed by a physical therapist can improve your spinal movement and alignment.
Being taller can be as simple as improving your posture. This leads to many health benefits and the elimination of most neck and back aches. Find out how we can help you improve your posture and spinal mobility by calling and speaking to one of our physical therapists today.
5 Ways to Strengthen Your Bones
Bones change in their density all the time. Calcium is constantly being laid down and taken up by the bone cells on a daily basis. Bone growth is dependent on the amount of force and stress placed on the bones. This is why astronauts who are weightless lose a substantial amount of their bone mass in just a couple of weeks. Here is what you can do to ensure your bones are healthy and strong:
- Balance your calcium and magnesium intake. There is much research that has been done on the need for calcium and magnesium uptake into your bones. Make sure that you eat a balanced diet, rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. This gives your bones the materials it needs to grow.
- Do weight bearing exercises regularly. When you can, perform weight-bearing exercises such as walking or running. The impact through the legs strengthens the bones in the legs, hips and spine. If you suffer from joint problems, then try to alternate non-weight bearing exercises such as swimming, elliptical machines and biking.
- Do strengthening exercises. Performing the right kind of exercises with resistance or weights helps to stimulate bone and muscle growth. Blood flow is also improved making for greater health of the bones and muscles. Talk to your physical therapist, before trying strengthening exercises you are unsure of doing.
- Perform extension exercises for your spine. With the right kind of extension exercises, you can over time, reduce the excessive curvature in the upper back and forward head posture. This helps distribute normal forces across the entire spine, helping to reduce neck pain, headaches and especially low back pain. Make sure you talk to your therapist first before trying extension exercises, so they can teach you the proper procedures.
- Learn good posture techniques. This takes a big load off your spine, helps you stand taller and an added benefit is you look thinner. Carry yourself tall when walking and sitting. When sitting, use a support for the low back lumbar area, such as a small rolled up hand towel. Try ergonomical chairs and standing desks when at work. Switch up sitting and standing routines during the day to give your spine a break.
Having strong bones and a tall posture will help you feel your best and your body to work like it should. If you find yourself hunching over, suffering from occasional back pain or neck pain, living with osteoporosis or just wanting to feel healthier, call and speak to one of our expert physical therapists today. Your bones and spine will thank you!