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What Are the Lumbar Vertebrae and How to Protect Them
As we get older, many of our vital organs and structures begin to weaken, becoming more vulnerable to health risks. One of the most important parts of our body we should strive to protect is our back.
In particular, the lumbar vertebrae go through significant distress as you get older. The lumbar vertebrae consist of five cylinder-shaped bones in the vertebral column of your back. They help to hold up the weight of the body and shape the spine in the lower back.
These vertebrae also provide flexibility and movement to the trunk region of your spine. They help protect the spinal cord and the nerves inside its vertebral canal.
Located between the lumbar vertebrae are discs that help absorb shock when tension is felt in the back. When you exert your back in strenuous activities like heavy exercise, the discs in your lumbar vertebrae begin to shrink and become dry. Eventually, these discs will dissipate, making the bones in your lumbar vertebrae rub against each other and cause pain.
Aging is inevitable. However, your back doesn’t have to suffer as you get older. There are lifestyle changes you can make to prevent yourself from risk. Some conditions in the back are caused by diseases that demand medical intervention. But most back conditions can be avoided just by taking the necessary precautions.
In this informative guide brought to you by all33, we aim to teach you about the lumbar vertebrae and how to protect them. Continue reading to learn more!
Your lower back is responsible for holding up your entire upper body. One part of your body that greatly affects how your lower back performs is the core.
The muscles in your core need to be strong to sufficiently uphold your spine. Though your core is technically not a part of your lower back, the spine calls on all of its surrounding muscles for support. Strengthening the muscles in the trunk of your body is integral to a healthy spine.
The average person does not get much core strengthening from their everyday lives. To really tune up your core, you’ll have to engage in core-building exercises like walking, running, or doing crunches. These exercises help facilitate blood flow to the spine. They also help stretch out your muscles.
You can also try workouts with exercise balls. You can simply sit on the ball for twenty to thirty minutes at a time to practice good posture, or you can use the ball to stretch and work out your core muscles.
Alternatively, you can even try water therapy to strengthen your core. Water therapy allows for a wide range of motion that hits all sides of your core. Particularly, your core is affected by exercises that require you to lift your legs.
If you find it difficult to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, try to start small. Even if it’s for five to ten minutes a day, work on increasing the amount of time you’re active every day. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a tight, stiff back and can pose risk to your lumbar vertebrae.
Tight muscles are one of the leading culprits of back issues. If the muscles in your back are tight, they will induce additional stress onto the entire rest of the spine, including your joints. The first step in curing an aching back is to stretch out and work on flexibility.
When you keep your spine bent for a long time, the tissue in your discs and ligaments begin to change in structure. This change only lasts for a few minutes, but during this time, the stability and range of movement in your back will be limited. Your joints will also feel tight.
It is nearly impossible to go through life completely avoiding bending your back. However, you should be mindful of how often you are straining your back and eliminate instances where it is unnecessary. You should also make it a priority to take breaks after being positioned that way for long periods of time.
If you can, every half hour, take a break to stand up and walk around for a minute or two. When you re-straighten your back after being bent for a while, your spinal tissues begin to recover and go back its original form.
One part of the body that affects the lumbar vertebrae is the hamstrings. A tight hamstring can put a lot of pressure on your pelvis and lower back. If you feel that your hamstrings may be the reason for your back pain, stretch them out daily. Some hamstring stretches can help with leg pain linked to back issues like sciatica.
In addition to stretching daily, it is also crucial to maintain proper posture when you’re standing and sitting. Your posture greatly impacts the health of your lumbar vertebrae.
When you’re standing, the discs in your lower spine bear the extra weight that strains them. But when sitting, your discs are subject to even more weight. These discs can degenerate over time if constantly overworked.
Most people who work in an office environment find themselves sitting for several hours every day. It’s not healthy to be sitting for that long. But if you have to for the sake of work, you absolutely must sit with correct posture.
If you spend a lot of time sitting, it is wise to invest in a quality ergonomic chair that supports your spine and pelvis when sitting. A good chair should have an adjustable seat, armrest, headrest, and backrest to ensure it fits your body perfectly.
Considering how much time we spend every night sleeping, it is imperative to make sure our backs are supported during that time.
Sleeping on your stomach or side can cause tension to the spine. Without providing a structure for your back to lean on, you are essentially preventing your back from getting its due rest. When in doubt, it is usually best to have some kind of structure supporting your spine.
Even sitting on your back can strain your back, though. To truly give your back the perfect rest at night, keep your knees elevated with a pillow.
In the same vein as an ergonomic chair, you should also invest in a strong mattress that promotes healthy sleeping positions and doesn’t strain the upper back. You want a mattress that is firm enough to hold your back up, but flexible enough to fit the curve of your spine.
Lifting items is another fairly common reason for pain in the lumbar vertebrae. Even simple, everyday activities like bringing in groceries can put strain on your spine.
If you lift weights or if your work requires you to lift heavy objects, you’re especially going to need to learn to lift correctly. Using the proper technique when lifting objects can prevent painful injuries like herniated discs and muscle spasms.
To start, do not twist or bend your back while lifting. You want to keep your back straight and relaxed. Just don’t straighten up your back to the point that it is tense. Tensing up your back while lifting can cause chronic tissue damage and/or pulled muscles.
When lowering your body to lift something, bend your knees instead of your back. As you lift the object, hold it close to your chest as you begin to straighten your spine.
If you’ve followed all of these tips but still are experiencing back pain, it could be due to smoking. Smoking prevents healthy blood flow to the discs in your spine that cushion your vertebrae. As a result, smoking may cause accelerated disc degeneration.
Smoking also lowers the level of calcium absorption in the body, as well as new bone growth. Both of these factors can contribute to osteoporosis.
Protecting Your Lumbar Vertebrae Is Vital
The lumbar vertebrae are some of the largest and heaviest vertebrae in the spine. The only vertebrae bigger is the sacrum. Without these bones in our body, our spines could not be supported.
It is highly advised to start taking care of your back early on in your life so you don’t experience more severe consequences later on. Even if you feel fine now, you should still take the necessary precautions to protect your spine for the future.
A healthy spine will contribute greatly to your overall ability to move and function. Remember, we need our spines to walk, sit, sleep, and essentially do anything that requires movement. That’s why it’s so essential to protect them.
If you’re struggling with lower back pain, our BackStrong chair could be the solution to your problems. Our chairs feature a fully adjustable seat, backrest, headrest, and arms to fit your body flawlessly.
We provide the only chairs in the world that allow for the natural movement of the pelvis and back when sitting. Our chairs are also designed to promote oxygen and blood flow to keep you feeling energized and motivated. Check out the all33 website for more details, as well as tips and suggestions for supporting a healthy back.