Everyday Improvements: Part 1 . Switch old bad habits for new.
July 18th, 2018 239 post views
Small Changes That Make A Big Difference
Wellness magazines are full of useful “switches” that you can make to improve your diet and your health. Switches such as eating healthier yoghurt instead of ice cream, eating low-sugar dark chocolate instead of the calorific milk chocolate, and eating fruit instead of sugary unhealthy snacks. This has got me thinking about how we can apply postural and movement advice in the same way; switching out our old bad habits for new habits. This blog aims to start this “switching” process and help you improve your health in small, convenient and most importantly effective ways. We have already written in previous blogs about the best sleeping positions for your back, a topic so important that it deserved its own blog! If you wish to read about that, please follow the link here. Once you have read that, feel free to read on as we are going to start with how to get out of bed….
What is the best way to get out of bed?
When we first wake after a night’s sleep our lumbar discs are particularly vulnerable. This is because after lying horizontally for so long they are well hydrated and slightly plumper than normal. Getting out of bed in the wrong way can lead to disc damage or back strain and significant pain as the body has not yet warmed up for movement. For the same reason, it’s not a good idea to leap out of bed and start doing yoga exercises first thing in the morning – something that the more energetic among us may be inclined to do! So, how you get out of bed is important. Firstly, roll onto your side and bend your knees allowing your feet to drop from the side of the bed. After that keep your back straight and push yourself up with your hands into a sitting position. Take your time and make sure you keep your back straight.
Getting out of bed in this way will ensure that you don’t do what most people do, which is a combined movement of lumbar flexion and twisting in an effort to go from a supine face-up lying position immediately into a sitting position.
Lifting heavy items, for example shopping
This is a very important change to make. Many of the patients who come in our doors at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic in Eastbourne with low back injuries have done the damage through poor lifting techniques. Let’s face it, most of us try to make life as easy as possible for ourselves, which means that when putting the shopping in the back of the car we tend to combine the movements of bending forward, lifting bags and twisting to turn to put them in the car. In fact, what this does is that it combines all the activities that the low back does not like and leads to a far greater chance of lumbar sprain/strain injuries.
A better switch is to separate the movements. With your shopping at your feet, keep your low back straight and bend your knees so you can go into a squat. Tighten your abdominal muscles to brace your low back and lift your shopping so that you straighten into a standing position. Once you are upright keep your abdominal muscles braced and turn your whole body so that you can put your shopping in the car, or onto the kitchen work surface, etc. By separating the lumbar flexion and the twisting movements into two distinct movements, and keeping your abdominal muscles raised, you are far less likely to suffer a lumbar injury in this way.
Thanks for reading