Poor posture looks unsightly, is bad for your general health and can cause numerous back problems.
Try to maintain good posture at standing and walking. Try to avoid hunching your shoulders all times - avoid rounding your back and 'slumping'. Imagine that you are being lifted up by the top of your head - this applies to sitting, standing, or tensing your neck when angry or stressed. If you find you do this often, listening to a relaxation tape once a day may help.
Excess weight only adds to the stresses on the spine, so avoid being overweight.
It is well understood that safe exercises may help back and neck pain sufferers. There are specific exercises for spine strengthening and others to help you relax. It certainly will help to keep your spine supple - and keep your whole body fit at the same time. Dr. Collis will recommend the ones that are most suited for you.
Walking and swimming are excellent for the spine
Make sure your chair correctly supports your body.
Avoid slouching and oversoft chairs. Choose those which support the small of the back. Very low chairs can be difficult to get in and out of, as can chairs without arms.The best way to sit down is to stand in front of the chair with one foot almost under the chair. Bend your knees, and at the same time place your hands behind you to rest on the arms of the chair. Then lower yourself gently in the chair.
Placing a small, firm cushion - or rolled-up towel - at the small of the back gives support and good posture to the low back.
As most beds and mattresses last a number of years, a good, supportive mattress is essential if you are to sleep well and avoid long-term back discomfort. Note that a SUPPORTIVE mattress need not necessarily mean a HARD one - its should allow some absorption of the hip and shoulder.
When buying a new bed or mattress, it is vital to take your time and test them out. Lie down in the position in which you normally sleep, and check also how easy it is to get in and out of the bed.
The word 'orthopedic' or "chiropractic" when used to describe a bed does not necessarily mean that it is the best type for a bad back
If you really cannot replace an old or sagging mattress, put a board under it as a temporary measure. Alternatively, if the bed itself is causing problems, you can put the mattress on the floor.
It is wise to flip and rotate your mattress at least twice per year.
There are three basic reasons why the workplace can cause back and neck injuries: improper furniture/ equipment, a lack of understanding of how our bodies should be positioned, and simply sitting or standing for too long a period
Make sure your chair is at the correct height in relation to your desk; try putting a small cushion at the small of your back; take frequent short breaks to move around and stretch your muscles; and check that you are not needlessly stretching when you could move frequently used items on your desk nearer to you. For example, if you are right handed, your telephone should be on your right hand side, and so on.
If you have to stand for long periods at work, have a low stool available so that occasionally you can rest one foot on it and thus vary your weight allocation.
If your job involves repetitive actions - e.g. driving or working at a conveyor belt - you should always take regular, short breaks in which to move around.
Take frequent breaks between chores. When vacuuming, work in short stretches, keeping the vacuum cleaner close to your body, using short sweeps, and alternate arms. Store the vacuum where it is easily reached.
Rearrange and organize your cupboards so that everyday items are easily reached. For items up high, use safe steps - do not overstretch.
Place one foot on a low stool while standing over the counter or sink.
If your working surfaces are too high, sit on a stool keeping your back straight.
Remember to bend from the knees for heavy lifting.
In the bathroom, bend at the knees to clean the bath and toilet.
When making beds, always kneel rather than stoop.
Carry your laundry basket of wet clothes in front of you, not on your hip, and place it on a table to avoid bending.
Iron clothes sitting down, or resting one foot on a low stool.
Clothes which restrict mobility can encourage bad posture - tight jeans, in particular, can cause considerable back stress. High heels are likely to cause poor posture at the very least, and should be avoided most of the time.
When washing your hair at a basin, bend your knees. Even better, wash your hair in the shower, or by kneeling at the side of the bath and using a hand-held adapter.
Back strains can easily happen when getting in or out of the bath, so consider buying a non-slip mat or grip rail to put inside it. Do not stretch for the bath towel - have it within easy reach. When drying your feet, avoid bending over by sitting down and raising your foot towards you.
Try to avoid constipation if at all possible. The lower back muscles are easily strained when extra effort is required.
Your head weighs about 10-13 pounds. The only time your neck muscles rest, is when you are lying down. When you sit and stand, your neck muscles are working. The normal neck has a "c-shaped" curve that is convex towards the front of the neck. When sleeping, we want to maintain this normal curve. Hence, the pillow that you use should facilitate the maintenance of this curve and prohibit your sleeping in a position that disables this normal curve. Use whatever pillow(s) allows you to sleep comfortably, but be sure that if you are on your side, your head is in a straight line, and not bent toward or away from the bed.
1. Prepare for the lift. Check the load's weight and if you think it is too heavy, get help. Check your route is clear of obstruction.
2. Stand close to the load, feet either side of it. Keep your back straight throughout. Get down to the level of the load by bending your hips and knees.
3. With elbows close to the body, grip the load as shown. Use the whole hand, not just the fingers.
4. Lean forward a little, keeping your back straight, and with one smooth movement, straighten your hips and knees and lift the object close to your body. Try to avoid 'using' the back at all.
5. To lower the load, reverse the action. Bend your hips and knees with a straight back and put the load down.
Pregnancy and child care often bring on long-term backache. The rules are the same as for lifting any item - bend from the knees, not the back, and hold the child closely in front of you. Try to avoid carrying the child on one hip.
With toddlers and young children, try standing in front of them, holding out your hands and asking them to 'walk' up your legs. Children love this 'game', and it saves unnecessary bending.
Carry heavy goods in two bags, spitting the weight between each arm. If even this is uncomfortable for you, consider having your groceries delivered - or take someone with you when you go shopping! Get someone else to push the supermarket trolley. Always remember though, bend your knees when lifting suitcases or bags.