ToolsYou need the right equipment. If you are a baseball player you aren’t going to the game without your well-oiled mitt. How about cooking dinner? It would be pretty hard to do without pots, pans, and ingredients. Keeping the house heated in the winter is quite difficult without a furnace. And commuting 30 miles to work without a car would still require a good pair of shoes, maybe a bike and a much earlier start time.

What’s more important is that you take care of your equipment. Ever been in the middle of a morning shower and the hot water runs out? How about cruising down the road when your car starts shuddering and spewing black smoke bringing back to your consciousness that you are about 50,000 miles overdue for an oil change and more?

On a daily basis, I get to work with people who have all of the right equipment but haven’t taken good care of it. Unfortunately, we aren’t talking water heaters and cars. Those are replaceable, your spine mostly isn’t. Most of the time it’s because no one every told them how or what to do to take care of their spine and health.

We all know that we need to eat good food and get some exercise. That isn’t up for debate. But make a few wrong turns with your daily habits( like sitting. Check out this ARTICLE) and mix in some injuries (like sports, auto accidents, etc) over the years and Bamm! You have a substantially weaker spine that can’t stand up to the heavy demands of your daily life. Maybe your don’t notice it in your youth but as the years pass by accumulating the wear and tear from not knowing or implementing the essentials, your equipment starts to break down.

Now you are in a pickle. You hurt. Things aren’t working the way they are supposed to. Ignoring it isn’t helping get better. Rubbing dirt on it doesn’t even help. Before long it get’s in the way. Your hobbies aren’t as enjoyable. Work is more work than inspiring. Conversations are about the weather and how your body forecasts it. Ugh. Now you have to do something. Do you go to your doctor? Maybe a good massage will help. Didn’t your friend’s best friend’s mom swear by a certain chiropractor?

If you are at this point get the help you need (CLICK HERE). You have got to maintain the equipment you have. That is essential for good health which in turn is essential for a life of enjoyment, usefulness, and effectiveness.

Have you asked yourself yet, “What do I need to know to take care of my spine?” First, it is essential to understand that you spine protects and supports an essential system in your body. Your nerve system. If your spine is ailing or just misaligned with no consciously perceivable effect, you are still downgrading your health by putting your nerve system in distress. There is a direct relationship between the health of your spine and the job performance of the nerve system that pretty much runs your body top to bottom.

Then there are daily habits you can change, both adding and subtracting (we will take about that in a later post). But there are two other things that are pretty passive that can really make a huge change in your current and future health scenario. Neither of these is a substitute for your chiropractic care or dealing with your daily habits but are in addition to.

Your bed. You sleep right? If you are going to be in bed for hours sleeping, shouldn’t that mattress be helping you? Instead, I hear a lot of complaints about first thing in the morning, or I can’t sleep because I can get comfortable. If that is true for you or a loved one, get a different mattress. I don’t sell mattresses nor do I have a brand recommendation, but I will tell you that having a good mattress is a piece of the puzzle for everyone’s health. This is my advice on selecting a mattress. Get one that when you wake up from a night’s sleep you feel refreshed. You should have energy, not feeling like you did landscaping all night. Should it be soft or firm? Should it be springs, water, or air? What about that memory foam stuff? I don’t know about any of that because you might have a different need than the person next to you. I love a very firm mattress. My wife likes a fluffy soft one. Neither is right or wrong unless we are waking up achy like we were just run over. This is a very good investment considering that we need about 8 hours of sleep a night making it a reality that we spend a third of our life in bed. Wow, that is a big deal.

The other thing that I think is absolutely essential in this department is what goes on your feet. If your feet, ankles, knees, hips, lower spine hurt or you have zero energy after being on your feet for a while, listen up. Your feet start the system rolling from the impact on the ground to dissipating that shock force through your body. If the mechanics (a.k.a arches and movement) of your feet aren’t in the most optimized supportive arrangement then the force that goes through your body with every step may make a pit stop in your knee perhaps. What I mean is that if the movement starting in your feet causes the rest of your body to compensate and move differently than designed, you run the risk of wearing out that equipment. Then answer is in better shoes. But I haven’t found too many shoes made just for my feet. That is where custom orthotics come into play. These are essential for anyone with a lower spine, hip, knee, ankle, foot issues or athletes wanting to make sure they get the most out of their body. These will level the playing field giving you a more firm foundation to move on. That is essential to take care of your equipment so that it doesn’t wear out. I recommend Foot Levelers as they have proved themselves as a product and company to me and my patients over the years. And yes, I do sell them and am glad to offer them up because they are game changers for people’s health and lives.

I hear the complaint a lot that people don’t know what to do to stay healthy in the face of so many opinions and research. Keep it simple and think for yourself. Your spine and nerve system run the show. Take care of that first and foremost. What you sleep on makes a huge dent in your time and your health. Your feet take you places. Put some action in these areas and you’ll see change. And, of course, these are not substitutions to professional care and advice, but in addition to.