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Age and the Spine

Our blog this week comes courtesy of about.com.

“Yes, you have something to do with the health of your back, even if you’re young.

In recent decades, medical experts have begun warning us about degenerative diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure showing up in young adults and kids. Previously, warnings regarding these preventable conditions were almost exclusively directed toward seniors and middle aged people.

Now we can add spine issues to the warning list. It’s been long postulated that all of us are potentially subject to age related spine changes. An overwhelming percentage of health research and public health education in this area is geared toward the effect of arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and similar conditions on the mortality, function and well being of senior citizens, with little focus on young peoples’ spines.

Until now.

A presentation given by Finnish researchers at the 2009 Cervical Spine Research Society identified controllable behaviors that can predict disc degeneration in young people. The researchers correlated MRIs with lifestyle information to find out if sitting a lot, being overweight or obese, smoking and/or being sedentary could be associated with spinal disc degeneration. Sure enough, they found that smoking and being overweight were predictors of lumbar disc degeneration in young men.

Bottom line – as with other degenerative conditions, you’re never to young to take preventative care of your spine. Consider losing weight, quitting smoking, and getting active. Your spine will thank you for it!”

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