Health Tips

Wellness Tips

good-postureThe motions of daily life, if done incorrectly, can result in injury to the spine. The following tips can help you steer clear of that kind of pain and inconvenience and keep you feeling your best.

Sitting

  1. Choose a chair that is firm enough to support you comfortably, and don't slouch!
  2. Sit with your feet flat on the floor or on a low footstool so that your knees are slightly higher than your hips.
  3. Sit firmly against the back of the chair.
  4. Avoid crossing your legs at the knees, which can aggravate existing back conditions and interfere with circulation to your lower limbs.

Standing

  1. Stand with your head level. When you have to stand in one place for long periods of time, put one foot on a 4-6-inch stool to help keep pressure off your spine.
  2. Avoid wearing high heels if you are going to be on your feet for long periods of time.

Working at a Desk

  1. Take frequent stretch breaks if you have to sit for a long time.
  2. Sit with your knees at a 90-120-degree angle. An angled footrest may help you feel more comfortable.
  3. Make sure your chair fits correctly. Allow for two inches between the front edge of the seat and the back of your knees.
  4. Choose a chair that tilts back so you can rest while you're reading what is on your computer screen.
    Elevate materials or your computer screen to avoid neck fatigue.

Lifting

  1. Avoid twisting and turning motions when you lift. If you have to turn to place the object, step in the direction of the turn, don't just twist at the waist.
  2. Always bend at your knees, not your waist, when lifting anything heavier than 10 percent of your body weight (e.g., a child or heavy box).
  3. When lifting an object, plant your feet about 12-18 inches apart, kneel or squat in front of the object, and lift as you straighten up. Be sure to lift with the big muscles of your thighs, arms, and shoulders, not with your back.
  4. In some situations, it is difficult to lift correctly. Getting grocery bags out of the car is one such situation.
  5. The car bumper doesn't allow you to bend your knees. Bring the bag to you first and then lift carefully.
  6. When engaging in repetitive lifting, use good lifting form, take frequent breaks, and use equipment to help whenever possible.
  7. To avoid tripping, be sure your path is clear before you lift the item.

Using the Telephone

  1. When using the telephone, avoid cradling the receiver between your neck and shoulder. Hold the phone in your hand or use speakerphone instead.
  2. If you use the phone a lot, use a lightweight headset.
  3. Switch hands frequently when on the phone.

Resting/Sleeping

  1. Don't use a sofa arm as a pillow or watch TV in bed with your head supported only by pillows; this strains your neck.
  2. Avoid sleeping on a soft mattress or sofa.
  3. Lie down in bed when it is time to sleep. Don't sleep in a chair or in cramped quarters.
  4. Sleep on your back with a pillow under your or on your side with a pillow between your knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  5. Use a pillow that supports your head so that your neck and vertebrae are level with the rest of your spine as you sleep. Avoid sleeping on two pillows.
  6. Be sure to get plenty of sleep every day to allow your body to rest and recuperate.

Therapeutic Exercise

back-exerciseWe teach our patients special exercises designed just for them to help strengthen and correct their own unique problem. These exercises can be performed in the comfort of your own home and can improve the effectiveness of your spinal correction by as much as 30-40%. This enhances the treatment process and helps maintain healing benefits, as well as reducing the likelihood of future problems.

PARTIAL SIT UP

We start with what most people say is the best back pain exercise. Because people who have back pain will not be able to do a full sit up, we will do partial sit up. This is what you should do.

Lie on the floor with a pillow supporting your neck and bend both knees (keep your feet on the floor). Now, raise your hands and slowly reach for your knees. You don't have to raise your lower back or mid back, just raise your head, neck and upper back. Hold this position for 5 seconds before going back to the original position.

Because it is very easy to do, we suggest that you do it as many times as possible in a day (50 repetitions take only minutes). Make it your daily routine.

KNEE TO CHEST

You start this exercise the same way like the partial sit up, by lying on the floor with a pillow supporting your neck. Now bend both knees (keep your feet on the floor).

Begin the exercise by drawing one of your knees to the chest, using both hands (only one foot is now on air). Hold to the count of 10, then slowly release it to the position before. Do this 4 - 5 times before doing the same thing with the other leg. You'll feel that the whole back gets stretched. That is good thing, since we have been making the back shorter all day by sitting incorrectly.
After you have done that, time to get both knees to the chest. Do this 4-5 times as well.

CAT-CAMEL

Position yourself on all fours with hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees directly beneath your hips. Arch your back like a cat, then transition to camel position.

The Cat-Camel is intended as a motion exercise, not a stretch, so the emphasis is on motion rather than "pushing" at the end ranges of flexion and extension. Repeat 12-15 times.

SUPERMAN

Begin in an all-fours position with body over the stability ball, abdominal muscles engaged to stabilize the pelvis and the neck in alignment with the spine. Lift opposite arm and leg up at the time then return down switch to the other side.

SPINAL ROTATION

Seated in a chair, reach one arm across the belly and grasp the opposite side of the chair. Look over the shoulder while rotating the low- and mid-back. Hold for 15-30 seconds.

STABILITY BALL PUSH-UPS

Start with the ball under your stomach roll forward placing your body weight on your hands until stability ball rests under your shins. Your body should be extended in a straight line from the stability ball.

STABILITY BALL CRUNCH

Lie with the small of your back on the ball, hands behind head or across chest. Maintain a backwards-pelvic tilt and raise shoulder blades off the ball.

NECK FLEXION

Stand facing the wall and hold the stability ball at forehead height, push forehead forward into the ball.

NECK EXTENSION

Stand facing away from the wall and hold the stability ball behind your head. Push back of head into the ball.

NECK LATERAL

Stand sideways to the wall. Hold the stability ball above your shoulder at the side of your head. Push side of head laterally into the ball.

Neck Stretches

  1. Bring your right ear to your right shoulder
  2. Let your neck stay in that position for 5 to 7 secs
  3. Repeat on left side.
  4. Bring head back as if you are looking toward the ceiling and hold. Feel the stretch in the muscles located on the front part of your neck.
  5. Rotate your head toward your (R or L) shoulder and then hold for 5-7 seconds.

If this exercise causes dizziness,fainting or loss of balance.. STOP THE EXERCISE AND CONTACT YOUR PHYSICIAN.

Do these exercises in several sets of 6, 8, or 10 several times a day and you will be surprised at the amount of flexibility that returns in a couple of months.

Dr. Nick Bravo practices chiropractic therapeutic services in Canton, GA and treats patients from nearby Woodstock, Waleska, Towne Lake, Ball Ground, Hickory Flat and other areas of Cherokee County. Chiropractic can be an effective treatment for back pain, neck pain, headaches, joint pain, osteoarthritis and many other conditions. Call (770) 479-1170 for more information.