Watch your back: Why October has been recognized as Spine Health Awareness Month

Posted at 8:56 AM, Oct 27, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you have neck or back pain, you are not alone. In fact more than one-third of Americans experience it every year, and it's the leading cause of disability in the country.

"You, or someone you know, is suffering from a neck or back condition," said Dr. Rita Roy, CEO of the National Spine Health Foundation.

These are just a few reasons Governor Glenn Youngkin recently joined Congress in recognizing October as Spine Health Awareness Month.

Roy said during the pandemic, the National Spine Health Foundation saw an increase in neck and back pain because one of the major causes of back issues is sitting too long in bad postural or slumped positions.

"What we saw during the pandemic is that people were not able to keep up with their regular fitness routines," noted Roy. "They were often working in a less than ergonomic scenario, working in a dining room chair or from the sofa and not minding their spine health."

So how can you prevent these issues and work to keep your spine healthy?

One important tip from experts is to always bend at your knees.

"Do not bend forward from the waist," said Roy. "Bend at your knees. Engage the largest muscle groups in your body, your thighs and your glutes to help you lift something off the ground."

You should also do muscle-strengthening and stretching exercises at least two days a week.

If you are experiencing neck or back pain for longer than two weeks, Roy said that’s when you should seek treatment from a professional.

Because, if you wait longer, it could impact your nerves which can't be fixed.

"Don't delay treatment," Roy explained. "Oftentimes, people will say, well, I've heard that there are more and more innovations happening in spine, and that's true. There's been an explosion of new technology in spinal health care. But the technology that's available now is very, very good. So don't wait for tomorrow or next year or in five years, for something better to come along. There are excellent treatments that are available now that get you back to your life."

Roy also recommended those who have sought professional care, that it's okay to get a second opinion. In fact, she often recommends it.

"Every excellent spine surgeon will say get a second opinion," explained Roy. "It's not going to offend a doctor, and it's worth putting the time in upfront to make sure you have a doctor who you trust, who you feel comfortable with. Because that's going to be a relationship, and if you don't get it right up front, you're going to end up spending a lot more time on the back end."

The National Spine Health Foundation has released a series of videos on their website called "Spine Talks," which can help educate you on proper preventative care and treatment. You can access those videos here:.



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