Spinal Wellness Tips
QUICK, USEFUL TIPS FOR DAILY ACTIVITIES
Good posture is the key to a healthy and strong spine.
Standing Tall... Prevent Back Pain
When standing for an extended period, wear supportive shoes. Maintain a strong, upright posture. Good posture is the key to a healthy and strong spine. Keep your chin slightly tucked and your shoulders held back and down. Keep both feet about shoulder-width apart. Maintain a little bit of tension in your abdominal muscles to support your spine.
Sitting at a Desk... Prevent Neck and Back Pain
Most importantly, while sitting, make sure that you get up every 30 minutes to stretch and move your body. Even a 60 second break can be beneficial. Next, be sure you are seated correctly. Make sure you have a chair that gives the lower back a bit of forward support. Keep your feet flat on the floor, with your knees and hips at 90 degrees. Your computer screen should be centered at eye-level, so you are looking forward, not down. Your elbows should be at rest, comfortably by your side, with a 90 degree angle here as well. Your forearms should remain parallel to the floor. If you keep your elbows lined up under your shoulders, you'll be in a good ergonomic posture. This will reduce 'a ton' of stress from your neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Lift Smartly... Prevent Back Pain
Lifting is one of the most common ways to injure yourself! When lifting, start by assessing your lift and estimating the weight of the load. Plan the lift...what you need lift, where it needs to go, is the pathway clear of obstructions. Get help if the object is too heavy. Keep your spine as upright as possible, bending at the hips, knees and ankles. DO NOT BEND at the waist, if at all possible. After you have a secure grip, keep your head up and eyes looking forward, not down. Lift the object by straightening your legs. Hold the object close to your body. Never twist while picking something up. Only turn after you are fully upright. Keep the shoulders and knees parallel to each other to avoid twisting. Keep the same principles in mind when you are putting the object down.
Warm Up First... Prevent Injury
Before physical activity, make sure that you adequately warm up beforehand. Even when performing light activities, like gardening or pushing your child on a bike, it's easy to pull something if you don’t prepare your body. Warming up is different than stretching. Warming up before activity increases the heat in your body and, therefore, the elasticity of your muscles and ligaments.
Telephone Talk... Prevent Neck Pain
If you speak on the telephone for a prolonged period, a speaker or headset is highly recommended to prevent neck stress and strain. Do not cradle the phone between your neck and your shoulder, as this often causes damage to the muscles or misalignment of vertebrae in the neck area.
Resting and Sleeping
Believe it or not, straining your neck or back while sleeping in an awkward position is very common! People often fall asleep in positions where their body is not supported properly. Make sure your pillow supports the normal forward curvature in your neck. Too often, the thick standard pillow pushes your head up off the level mattress. This increases the risk of injury and pain. The ideal position to sleep in, to reduce stress to your body and spine, is on your back. Using a cervical pillow for the neck and bending your knees to relax the low back is a good idea. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended.
To schedule an appointment or reserve a seat to our bi-weekly 'Spine Care and Health Workshop', call us at 410.721.5050.