Back pain isn’t always as a result of injury or specific spinal problems. Day-to-day activities can put pressure through our spine – causing or exacerbating pain. Rob Grace, Chiropractor highlights a few of these activities and what you can do to prevent spinal damage/pain.
- Lifting: lifting incorrectly will put strain through your back and this is not just with heavy objects. Aim to lift with both hands, bend your knees and use the strength in your legs and not your back, try not to bend and twist at the same time. Tighten your tummy muscles to support your lower back.
- Sitting: if you sit for prolonged lengths of time you are putting stress through your lower back and probably your shoulders as you lean over your desk/keyboard. The antidote to this is movement – every half an hour, make sure you get up and move, failing that sit up tall, roll your shoulders our and stretch your legs out – simple!
- Relaxing: when relaxing on the bed, floor, sofa – don’t sit with your legs our straight – this puts pressure through your hamstrings and hip flexors and pulls on the lower back. Bend your legs or sit cross legged with a cushion under your hips and in the small of your back. Lounging on the sofa or in a chair – support the lower back and use cushions to put yourself in a comfortable but supported position.
- Sleeping: Sleeping in the wrong position or with the wrong mattress/pillow will put unnecessary pressure through your body for one third of your life! Ensure your mattress is firm – but not over firm, your pillow is supporting your neck in a neutral position and that you don’t sleep on your stomach.
- Driving: like sitting in an office chair, sitting in the car puts stress through your spine. This pressure will be alleviated, by movement again. Something as simple as moving your rear-view mirror slightly will mean you move slightly too. Stopping when you can on a long journey and having a walk around will help no end, and you could also alter you seat position regularly to prevent getting stiff.
- Posture: our clinic pet topic and one of the best ways to help your spine stay healthy is no secret – good posture! Aim to keep your spine in a gentle S shape, think tall, long neck, tummy tight, bottom tucked – in all that you do.
- Bags: most people carry a bag over their shoulder – usually an overfilled bag – weighing you down on one side/imbalancing your shoulders. This puts pressure through the neck and shoulders. Ideally wear a rucksack style bag, failing that, swap shoulders regularly.
- Exercise: exercise is fantastic, and everyone can benefit – but if you are unused to exercise, taking up a new sport or class can end in injury. Taking up a new sport is brilliant news, but do take advice from a qualified instructor or medical expert before diving in and doing too much too soon. If it’s a class, be sure to advise your instructor that you are new to this particular discipline and they can keep an eye on you performing moves correctly. Try not to take up something new with the guidance of a DVD or internet – there is no one on hand to correct you.
- Phone: Slotting your phone – traditional or mobile – between your ear and shoulder puts your neck into a very unnatural position, straining neck muscles and tensing shoulder muscles. Avoid this at all costs – hold the receive, use earphones or the speaker. Likewise, staring down at your phone screen for a length of time will strain your neck. Hold it up so that you look forwards at your phone, not down.