This post was originally featured on Dr. David Vitko’s personal BackTrac Back Massager WordPress blog. You can view the original post here.
Motion is your spine’s best friend; its intricate design encourages motion while providing amazing structural strength. But not only does the spine encourage motion, it benefits immensely from certain types of motion. Beneficial movement of spinal joints, discs, ligaments and muscles promotes tissue health through increased fluid exchange that increases nutritional support to these tissues. For example, sitting at a computer all day can be just as damaging to the spine as digging ditches.
Here’s how motion helps to keep your spine healthy:
The spine’s ability to move is dependent upon free motion of all of its facet joints. These joints are fluid-filled systems that are totally enclosed by soft tissues called the joint capsule. Together with the structural bone of the spine, these tissues are all living cells. That’s right! Even bone is living tissue. These cells depend upon uninterrupted fluid exchange to remain healthy. Most Americans do not have adequate fluid exchange, which is due in part to a relatively sedentary lifestyle.
Fluids flowing into the tissues bring nutrients like vitamins, minerals and energy. Each of these cells is like a little factory unto itself. Each does a specific job second by second, all day long, every day of our lives. When these little factories do their job and use provided nutrients, they produce waste products that must be hauled away to the dump. Fluid movement can be thought of as little trucks carrying this waste away. Highly efficient capillary circulation is where this process begins, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables improves capillary circulation by naturally reducing blood viscosity. You can read more about this critical process at www.drvitko.com.
This process must be carried out constantly for the synovial cells of the joints to function at a high level. When fluid exchange is slow, waste builds up and nutrients are less able to reach the parts of the cell that need them. Poor fluid exchange causes cells to become toxic little cesspools of irritating fluid. The result? Irritated, swollen cellular structures and pain. These joint cells are more easily damaged by physical stresses from lifting or bending. They do not stretch as easily as they should. Torn tissues then swell and further reduce fluid exchange. It becomes a self-propagating process that causes you pain and disability.
The discs in your spine function as flexible cushions that allow for motion and accommodate load carrying. Discs are primarily ligament tissue that is normally very resilient and flexible. Decreased fluid exchange causes premature aging, drying and accelerated degenerative changes – much in the same way as the joints are affected as discussed above.
With dried-out and degenerated discs, bending, twisting and/or lifting can become a life-changing activity. One moment you are bending to pick up a pencil off the floor; the next you are barely able to move because of the extreme pain shooting into your back and leg or neck and arm. The resulting disability can last days, weeks, months or even years. Discs weakened by poor fluid exchange and poor nutrition are ticking time bombs.
Poor fluid exchange decreases muscle elasticity and increases resistance for muscle fibers sliding past each other during muscle contraction and relaxation. As with disc tissue damage, muscles tear more easily and become irritated. When tissues tear, irritating inflammatory chemicals are released. The pain that occurs with movement keeps many people from stretching or even from performing mild exercise when they have back and neck pain. With reduced motion comes prolonged healing times. The right kind of motion can actually speed up and encourage healing of damaged tissues.
The best way to keep cells of the joints, discs and muscles healthy is to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, and vegetables (providing plenty of antioxidants), normalize body weight, tone supportive muscles and get proper sleep (which comes naturally with a significantly improved diet and lifestyle). Patience is a must, as healing is a slow process. Introducing regular motion through the joints, discs and muscles will also help to increase your back’s resistance to injury. With daily activity that enhances fluid exchange mechanisms in the body, you can become more confident that your back will be healthy and there for you when you need it.
My answer to the motion issue is the BackTrac® Back Massager. I invented this product to help my patients get better faster and to stay well longer. Along with the program I created to keep patients on track so to speak, it is an indispensable tool in the fight against back pain. The BackTrac provides beneficial motion through the joints, discs and muscles of your back. At the same time, it gives you a really great back massage. What could be better? Read more at www.drvitko.com. You can contact me with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.