HEALTHY DIET FOR HEALTHY SPINE
Updated: Jun 18, 2018
There is an overflow of inquiry about diet during summer, and there seems to be no exception for this summer. Just like how there is an increase of population that look for gyms to maintain their figure during summer, there is seasonal reason where men and women, young or old, care more about their outer appearance.
Obesity not only makes one look older, but it also affects different type of illness and adult disease. Conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver manifest is chronic obesity, and obesity is the main cause of heart attack and stroke in severe cases. It is also the reason for neck and hip herniated disc, pelvic pain, hip pain, etc. Therefore, rather than dieting to maintain an appealing outer appearance, people are recognizing diet as a crucial process of special disease treatment and in reducing risk of adult disease. Diet has become a part of lifestyle to have a healthier life.
Out of many patients suffering from hip pain, most of them have increase of weight, especially those after birth. They have expressed worsening of the hip pain after becoming obese in the abdominal area. This is why obesity is the spine’s enemy. Obese people are at high risk of getting herniated disc because there is more fat than muscle, and the muscle has become so weak that it cannot support the spine properly. In addition, if fat is accumulated in the abdomen, the center of gravity of the body naturally shifts to the front, and the increase of pressure in the abdomen irritates the discs. Degeneration of the disc is hastened with continuous pressure and irritation, and the chance of leading up to a herniated lumbar disc, where there is pain due to compressed posterior nerve, is high.
On the other hand, those with clinical obesity with no appearance of overweight are at risk of herniated risk because of the lack of muscle that supports the discs. Men and women who exceed their percentage of body fat, 25% and 30% respectively, are diagnosed as obese-- although they may seem skinny and their body weight might seem appropriate for their height. This implies imbalance of nutrition, and those with seemingly skinny body have high body fat percentage and low muscle quantity, which lead to the weakening of surrounding tendons and muscles that support the discs. This results in the lack of support of the spine and strenuous burden on the disc. This kind of patient are not aware of their obesity, putting them at risk of various of diseases.
Regulated lifestyle accompanied with exercise and balanced meal for three times a day for the intake of various nutrition are beneficial to achieve a well-balanced and healthy diet. Starving diet is prohibited. Imbalance of nutrition such as lack of calcium can lower bone density, which calls for osteopenia and osteoporosis, and result in degeneration of the spine. Diet where one regularly neglects muscle-building exercise and reduces portion sizes can help lose weight because of the loss of muscle and water, but we must keep in mind that reduction of spine-supporting muscle can become the root cause of herniated disc. Since overly passionate exercise can strain the joints, gradually extended cardio and muscle workout are suitable.
Walking is initially recommended for patients with spinal disorders. Everyday extend the time of walking in the morning and night, and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Second, squatting is recommended for muscle workout. Spread the legs shoulder-length and extend both arms frontward. Inhale as you slowly bend the knees, and sit until the thighs and floor are parallel. Next, exhale as you stand up, and repeat the previous steps. Concentrate on stretching the leg muscle sufficiently as you bend down and on the pulling of the gluteus muscle as you stand up. Make sure the hip does not bend forward or tilt backwards. You can injure yourself if the knees protrude further than the toes because ankles and the knees bear the weight.
Published by KoreaTimes under <Health Column> on August 9, 2016.