We teach our patients the “3 Legged Stool of Results”, three important components that a patient can take an active role in their care to help them get better results faster from low back issues such as sciatica and disc herniation.
- Keep a rhythm of adjustments
- Break bad habits that lead to spinal problems
- Add specific exercises to strengthen the spine and help you hold your adjustments better
This Blog is going to deal specifically with number 2 on that list: Bad habits that can lead to spinal problems.
When considering bad habits, one of the things you really need to be thinking about is your posture. Whether you are in a sitting, standing or lying position, your goal should always be to try and maintain a neutral spinal posture. In a neutral or natural posture there is the least amount of stress on the tissues of the spine.
So what is a neutral or natural posture of the spine? A healthy spine consists of three curves one on top of the other, when viewed from the side. The ear should be in-line with the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. The spine should be straight when viewed from the front or back, remember the mantra ‘Straight is Strong’.
To help keep a neutral posture when sitting, you want your knees either level with your hips or below your hip, as they would be sitting on an office or dining room chair. Sitting with the knees higher than the hips (as on a sofa or low car seat), creates strain to the lower back. The more of the spine that is supported when sitting the better. If the seat you are using has no lumber or neck support, try using cushions to create support. Here is a link to our workstation / office chair set up guide.
It’s important to understand it’s an accumulation of bad habits that cause problems to the spine, smoking one cigarette hasn’t killed anyone, it’s an accumulation that’s bad for our health. Sitting on the sofa for an hour is no big deal, but sitting on the sofa for 3-4 hours every evening for weeks, months and years is bad for a spine and can lead to problems.
Whether you a sitting on the best orthopaedic chair or driving a car with the best seats you still need to take breaks and get moving. Movement is an essential ‘nutrient’ for the body. Our bodies are designed to move, spending 70-80% of your day sitting is completely unnatural.
When sleeping on your back there is the least amount of strain on the tissue of the spine. Use a feather or orthopaedic pillow to help support the natural curve in your neck.
Unfortunately many people snore when sleeping on their back and turn to sleeping on their side in a foetal position. My advice is to straighten out the body into the neutral position when sleeping on your side, use pillows for support if needed. Some people spend their whole day in a foetal position, whether it’s at a computer, behind a steering wheel or in-front of a TV. Spending another 8 hours in the foetal position is not healthy for the body.
Sleeping on your stomach puts the tissues of your spine under stress, especially the structures of your neck and should be avoided.
It is not easy for anyone to change a sleeping position they have adopted for many years, so start off on your back. If you wake and found you have turned onto your side or stomach, move straight away. Slowly you will change your sleeping habit.
If you are concerned about your posture or low back and would like one of our chiropractors to take a look, contact us at Clane Chiropractic today!
Yours in Health