On the last article Iâ€™ve written about back pain, I mainly point out the value of good postures especially sitting and driving. Good postures are a must to understand to prevent and avoid back pain. Here are additional postures on standing and when lifting objects to help you avoid back pain. I also included some awareness and body messages including sleeping habits.
GOOD POSTURES AND SLEEPING HABITS FOR BACK PAIN
STANDING: Second opinion needed
For pain-free posture when youâ€™re standing, do the breastbone lifting exercises, then have a friend observe you from the side. If youâ€™re standing correctly â€“ that is, in a posture that can prevent or relieve back pain â€“ a vertical line could pass directly through your ear, the middle of your shoulder, the middle of your hip bone and the outside of your ankle bone.
â€œCorrecting posture-induced back pain is very logical and very simple,â€ says Dr. Adams, â€œbut people make it so difficult. The body is a perfect mechanism. All we have to do is remove whatever imbalances are in the way of the body performing the way it is supposed to â€“ and this easy exercise just does it.â€
LIFTING: Know the squat
You probably know how to lift: never bend over at the waist. Maybe youâ€™ve also learned the commonly prescribed method of correct lifting to prevent back pain. Squat with your knees apart, with the object between your knees and close as possible to your body. Using your legs, stand up and lift bringing the object closer to your body as you stand. Be sure to keep your back straight.
For people who canâ€™t, manage to squat, there is another way. Put one knee on the floor, then using your arms, move the object onto your opposite thigh and, with a firm grip on the object, simply stand up.
BODY AWARENESS: Check
Be aware that your body is always sending you signals or messages. â€œThis position hurts,â€ â€œGet up and stretch,â€ â€œTime to quit and rest.â€ If you disregard these signals â€“ if you â€œgo through the day living between the top of your head and your chin,â€ you wonâ€™t be aware of your back pain until itâ€™s acute, with much more severe symptoms, and it will be much harder to fix.
Here is Dr. Adamsâ€™ advice. If you have a watch alarm set it to go off every hour while youâ€™re awake. For 15 to 30 after the alarm sounds, consciously notice how your body feels. (If you are already in pain, make this â€œappointment with your bodyâ€ every 15 minutes.)
Are you sitting correctly? If not, lift your breastbone. Are your shoulders up around your ears? Lower them. â€œSooner, checking your body throughout the day will become automatic, and you wonâ€™t need the alarm.
Sleep time can be a chance to realign a back thatâ€™s been stressed all day.
ON YOUR BACK: The pain-free way to snooze
Do not sleep on your side. â€œSleeping on your side puts your head forward, hunches your shoulders, and collapses your chest area, which means that your back canâ€™t extend the arch,â€ says Dr. Adams. Instead, she says, sleep at your back. â€œThe body opens up and you stretch, extend, and lengthen your back,â€ she says.
Also, sleep with a thin pillow, Dr. Adams advises, so that your head is pushed too far forward. She recommends buying an inexpensive feather pillow (if you arenâ€™t allergic), opening one end and removing one-third of the feathers.
Shape the pillow so that it fit comfortably under the neck, making it thinner under the head and thicker under the neck for support. You should also put a folded or rolled towel in the small of your back for support. The thickness of the towel depends on your body. â€œIt should be uncomfortable, but not too much,â€ Dr. Adams stated.
If youâ€™re pregnant, however, donâ€™t sleep on your back after the first trimester. As an alternative, Dr. Adams suggests lying on your side, but not in the featl position. Align your spine the best you can, the use a pillow thatâ€™s high as the distance between your shoulder and your neck so that it can support your head without pushing it too high or letting it sag.
ON YOUR STOMACH: The perfect pose for Sciatica relief
â€œFor years, people have told that they should never sleep on their stomachs if they have bad lower backs,â€ says Dr. Adam. If you have sciatica, though, that could be a bad advice. Sciatica is caused by overstretching ligaments and muscles in the back until theyâ€™re pressing on the sciatic nerve. Itâ€™s usually marked by shooting pains down one or both legs and is a condition that should be checked by a doctor.
If your sleep on your stomach when you have sciatica, gravity can restore a natural curve to your back, relaxing those ligaments and muscles so the nerve can heal itself.
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