Each day our bodies are subject to many stressful activities..…mowing the lawn, lifting a box, walking to class, prolonged sitting at a desk, loading the dishwasher, mopping the floor, taking out the garbage, lifting the groceries, making the bed…just to name a few. While these tasks may seem small, they can have great impact on the spine, ultimately influencing your quality of life. It is important to learn to navigate daily tasks in a pain-free manner and without injuries in order to live life optimally. By implementing some small technical changes in your activities, you can protect your body and reduce the risk of injuries. As part of your treatment at Auburn Chiropractic Associates Dr. Hartford may discuss specific occupational and recreational risk management and promote preventive modifications to avoid injuries.
Do Not Overload Your Backpack!
The correct use of a backpack can literally take some weight off your shoulders. Only loading your backpack with necessities will help to reduce pressure so you are not carrying excessive weight. Heavy backpacks can result in rounded shoulders and poor posture. It is especially important for children and adolescents not to overload the backpack. Too much weight if carried on the back can distort the natural curvature of the growing spine. The consequences of this type of stress during the formative years may lead to chronic neck pain, back pain and headaches.
A general rule of thumb is to carry a backpack that does not exceed 10 percent of your body weight. To ensure even distribution of weight, carry the backpack on both shoulders and refrain from slinging it over your shoulder or carrying it on one side. In addition, when selecting a backpack, choose one with wide, adjustable straps as this helps to distribute the weight evenly. Refrain from allowing the backpack to hang lower than 4 inches below the waistline because it may stress the shoulders and damage the neck and back.
Sleep on a Supportive Mattress
Comfortable and restful sleep is an essential component of a healthy life. Most people spend one-third of their life in the bed. Having a mattress that is comfortable and provides optimal support is very important in order to reduce musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. With a proper supportive mattress, you can begin your day in a more restful and healthy physical, psychological and emotional state. This will set the stage for a productive day! A quality mattress that is constructed for support of the spine is essential for sound restful sleep. If you are waking up stiff, sore and irritable, it may be time to consider a new mattress.
Sleeping in a healthy position is also extremely important. One healthy sleeping position is side-lying with a pillow between the knees. A pillow to support your neck so that your spine remains aligned is a must. If you prefer to sleep on your back, make sure to place a pillow under your knees to reduce stress of the lower back. A contoured pillow is a great option for back and side lying positions.
Think Before You Lift
If you have ever experience a back strain, you will probably remember an extremely painful experience. Lifting heavy objects with poor lifting technique can result in acute back pain that leads to a chronic back condition. Knowing how to lift properly and carry heavy boxes and other items can prevent you from injuries.
Preventive lifting tips:
Clear a path and be familiar with the object
Lift and carry objects close to your body
Start with a stable stance with legs shoulder-width apart
Engaged your legs with bent knees as you lift
Tighten your core to promote stability and support of your spine
These tips are very effective in preventing back injuries. If you injure your back, make sure to seek treatment from a chiropractor to help your back heal strong and naturally.
Vacations are a great way to relax and unwind from life stresses. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, by car or plane or by yourself or with others, be aware of how travel can impact your back and neck. When you prepare for a trip make sure to stretch and go for a brisk walk to help warm your muscles before sitting for a prolonged period. Drinking lots of water helps keep you hydrated and reduces the chance of muscle and back cramping. To reduce unnecessary strain on your back, check bags that weigh more than 10 percent of your body weight. To decrease the weight you have to carry, investing in rolling suitcases means you don’t have to lug around heavy bags. Make sure to shift your body’s position when you are sitting to promote blood flow to different parts of your body. Place a small lumbar pillow or support while prolonged sitting in car or plane. These tips will make your trips less stressful and less painful.
Housework and Yardwork
Performing everyday tasks around the house may seem harmless but sometimes they can result in injury. It is never worth putting your health at risk over simple, everyday tasks so here are some tips to reduce your susceptibility to injury:
Carry objects close to your body and your center of gravity
Change positions if you have been standing or sitting for a long time
Invest in tools with longer handles that require less force from your body
When bending for activities like raking, bend your knees, not from your waist
If you are mowing the lawn, use your body weight to push the mower instead of using your arms only
Paying attention to the manner in which you perform chores and tasks around the house is important. Tune into what is comfortable and safe for your body.
Hopefully, these general tips help improve the quality of your health and life. Prevention is the key to overall well-being so by paying attention to small techniques in the short term, you will be better off in the long term. Here at Auburn Chiropractic Associates, we offer an individualized approach to diagnosing and treating your health condition. If you are experiencing acute or chronic pain contact us at 334-826-2225 to make an appointment today. At Auburn Chiropractic Associates, we are committed to natural treatment methods emphasizing healthy life choices and prevention.