Bend over and touch your toes! When we were kids, we did it with ease. But as we age, many of us find that bending over – and straightening back up again – becomes increasingly difficult and may even cause pain. Chiropractic can help many people improve their range of motion and flexibility and can also alleviate pain associated with bending over. And, if you don’t yet have pain but are starting to notice that you can’t touch your toes as easily as you once could, chiropractic can also help you avoid spinal problems in the future.
Which of the following statements do you relate to?
A. I can bend over without bending my knees and place my palms flat on the floor without difficulty or pain.
B. I can bend over without bending my knees and touch my toes without difficulty or pain.
C. I can bend over, but to touch my toes I have to bend my knees. It’s a bit of a struggle.
D. I can bend forward a little but I cannot touch my toes at all or at least not without pain.
E. I’m afraid if I try to bend over, I won’t be able to stand up straight again.
If you’re in group A, you’re better off than most Americans. Your spine is healthy and flexible. You may already get regular chiropractic treatments and you may take part in regular strengthening and flexibility exercises, like yoga. This is great! Keep it up!
If you’re in group B, you’re still doing pretty well compared to most Americans. In order to keep that flexibility and maybe even increase it, you should visit a chiropractor to discuss your spinal health. Also, stretching and strengthening exercises like yoga and pilates will help keep your spine in excellent health.
If you’re in group C, you need to take action before the situation worsens. You may just consider your stiffness part of the aging process – but it doesn’t have to be that way. With proper chiropractic care and the introduction of stretching and strengthening exercises, you may be able to improve your spinal flexibility before it get worse.
If you are in group D or E, you should schedule an appointment with a chiropractor immediately. Not being able to bend over can be a hassle – what happens when you drop your pen on the floor? – but it can also be dangerous. Attempting to reach things that have fallen when we can’t bend properly is one of the top three causes of fall-related injuries in senior citizens. Even if your inability to bend over is only periodic, it’s imperative that you take action now.
Why Can’t I Bend Over Like I Used To Be Able To?
The reason our spines are flexible is because our vertebrae – the individual bones that make up our spine – are connected by semi-soft and flexible cartilage. This cartilage keeps the bones together but allows them to bend and twist. We call this cartilage the discs. You might think of these discs like thick, sticky rubber bands: they can stretch and twist to allow our vertebrae to move, but they then regain their original shape.
As we age, the discs in our spine to break down. When a disc gets thinner or smaller, it can mean that the vertebrae on either side of the disc are no longer protected from each other. When the bones come in contact with one another, they can’t move further, meaning that it makes it difficult or even impossible to bend past that point. In other cases, injured discs may slip out of place. As we bend, the bones may then put pressure on nerves, causing pain and limiting movement.
How Can Chiropractic Care Help Me Keep or Improve My Ability to Bend Over?
Let’s say you have a perfectly healthy spine and can bend freely and without pain. You want to keep it that way! The best way to maintain the health of your spine is to KEEP MOVING. You want to do non-strenuous exercises that gently stretch the back and help strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine. Yoga and pilates are great examples of these exercises. Also, regular chiropractic care can help keep your spinal discs hydrated and keep your vertebrae in proper alignment while heading off any potential problems at the pass.
But it’s not too late to take action if you’re already experiencing loss of flexibility, pain when bending over, or even the in ability to bend over safely. Gentle chiropractic care can help make sure your spine is in proper alignment – this is the first step to regaining bending ability. Also, subtle adjustments can help hydrate and reposition damaged discs, which can improve flexibility and lessen pain. Your chiropractor can even give you easy exercises to perform at home so that you can continue to improve your spinal health even on days when you don’t see your chiropractor.
When you are experiencing back pain and the inability to bend over safely and without pain, it may have been suggested that you consider surgery. While in some cases that may be the only choice, a non-invasive treatment is always a better first step. The best part about chiropractic care is that it is gentle and non-invasive. It is our goal to improve your flexibility and lessen your pain without surgery.