We take care of our teeth without having to think twice. We brush and floss twice a day, every day (at least that’s the goal). What about our spines? Do you ever think about taking care of your spine? Most of us don’t think about our spine until something hurts. You may say it’s, “out of sight out of mind.” However, if you stop and think for a minute, we need our spines in almost every activity of our daily life. Your spine is required this very moment to help you stand or sit as you read this blog. Let’s consider some ways we can be taking care of our spine. The American Chiropractic Association has some helpful tips to maintain spine health. I will share these along with my own favorite tips from my personal experience as a Doctor of Chiropractic.
- Keep the knees loose and slightly bent. Placing one foot in front of the other can help to take the pressure off the low back.
- Beware of tilting your hips and the pressure this can cause in the joints of the lower back. If you feel like there is a lot of tension here, squeeze the buttock muscles tightly to pull your hips back. This should relieve some of the
- Lift with your legs and avoid twisting your torso.
- Before lifting, consciously think of bracing or “stiffening” your core.
- Get others to help when lifting heavy objects.
- Avoid doing it whenever possible.
- If unavoidable, give yourself a break every 30-40 minutes. Get up walk around, stretch or perform light exercise.
- Watch your posture. Be aware of your head wanting to travel forward over your shoulder and avoid the rounding of your shoulders. Proper desk ergonomics is extremely important. Pain or discomfort related to posture often has an insidious onset. For more information regarding desk ergonomics see the following from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/office-ergonomics/art-20046169
Reaching and Bending
- When reaching for something on the floor, bend the knees or get down on one knee to get as close to the item as possible. Minimize bending at the waist
- When reaching overhead, avoid excessive straining. As you reach above, picture yourself pinching your shoulder blades together like you are trying to squeeze a pencil between them.
- Placing a pillow under your legs while on your back can reduce pressure on your spine.
- A pillow between the knees while lying on your side can also reduce pressure on the spine.
- In most cases, your body will tell you which position is best.
- There is much more that can be discussed about sleeping. This will be addressed more thoroughly in a future post.
- Beware of the “text neck.” Bring your phone to eye level when texting.
- Avoid pinching your phone between your head and shoulder. Instead, use a headset or bluetooth whenever possible.
- If using a computer, try to get eye level with the screen if View the entire screen at once and avoid having to constantly swivel your head from side to side. If you are using two monitors, try to be as aligned as possible to the screen you are utilizing.
- Take frequent breaks from looking at the screen.
I hope you found these tips helpful. Taking care of your spine is a daily choice. Changing even the small things you do every day can make a big difference in the grand scheme of your spine health. I challenge you today to choose at least one habit to start. Change happens when we set small goals and work daily to meet them. If you are experiencing excessive or lingering pain in your spine or lower back, please contact us at Venture Chiropractic to set up an appointment. Our number is 701-730-3867. The sooner we can tackle a problem, the better you will be long term. Our spines may be out of sight, but they should never be out of mind!
~~Dr. Matt Casperson
Link to ACA article: Tips for a Healthy Spine