Why should you do spinal hygiene and how often should you do it?
I grew up on a farm. On that farm we had many gates to keep the livestock in or out of something. We opened some of those gates frequently. Others were less frequent. There was one gate in particular that we almost never opened. I remember one day I needed to go through the gate and as I began to open in it I recall it being very stiff and creaky. In fact it was so stiff I had to put my shoulder into it in order to get it open enough to go through. A couple years later it could almost not open anymore. This happened because the metal hinges had become rusty.
This is similar to what happens with the joints in our bodies. If they don’t actively and passively move they will develop contractures and restricted motion. Decreased range of motion is one of the primary causes of arthritis. Therefore, one of the primary reasons that doing spinal hygiene is a good idea is to prevent future arthritic growth and degeneration. Arthritis makes future restricted joint motion permanent. Much has been written about how this also effects the function of the brain and entire nerve system so that will not be discussed here.
The takeaway I hope you get from this article is that full joint motion is necessary in order to prevent arthritis and joint degeneration, including disk herniations. Spinal hygiene exercises are simple movements designed to increase and maintain full joint motion and should be performed daily.
What will you do to increase your joint motion?