We all brush our teeth everyday to prevent cavities, so what can we do every day to help protect our spine? Millions of people are affected by back pain everyday, so luckily there are a number of things that can help lower the chances of experiencing back pain:
- Sleep Well
Sleeping well is important for overall health, but especially important for your spine. During your sleep all the structures of your spine that have worked hard all day get to relax and rejuvenate. Be sure to invest in the right mattress and pillow that will support the spine in a “neutral” or “relaxed” position to ensure the muscles and ligaments are kept in proper alignment. At 4 Life Physiotherapy we recommend individual pocket spring beds because unlike regular springs they are not joined at the top or bottom allowing the height of individual springs to cleverly adjust to the contours of the body. For a pillow we recommend the Complete Sleeprrr, which is on special this month from 4 Life Physiotherapy.
- Stay Active
Keeping your body moving by regularly attending the gym, walking, cycling, swimming, playing with your kids or most other types of exercise will help maintain the health of your spine. The best “Combo” for your spine is a mixture of stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercise. Staying active can also assist with maintaining a healthy weight which will help decrease pressure on the spine, discs, ligaments and muscles. We have a free fact sheet containing general exercises to help keep a long and healthy spine. If you need some extra motivation, at 4 Life Exercise Physiology we offer Weight Loss Classes (Call Rachel to discuss), and 4 Life Physiotherapy has Fitness Pilates classes to help maintain a long & lean spine.
- Enjoy the Benefits of Remedial Massage
“Remedial Massage not only works on your muscular system, but also on all other body systems such as circulatory (blood flow), lymphatic (toxin removal), nervous (nerves), as well as the connective tissue (facia) throughout the body”, says Fiona Waddell (Remedial Massage Therapist). By improving these systems collectively the result is decreased muscle tension, and a more relaxed spine. Fiona is available at 4 Life Sports & Remedial Massage for 1-hour and half hour Remedial Massage appointments.
- Choose Your Shoes Carefully
Our feet are like the foundation of a building, if the feet are mechanically unsound they can change the alignment of the structures above them – the knees, hips and spine! Did you know that 2% of headaches are even caused by poor foot mechanics! Walking for exercise or work can put a lot of pressure on the spine if you are wearing the wrong shoes, and choosing the right shoes can be difficult! Generally speaking there are three types of foot arches: pronated (low arch), neutral, and supinated (high arch). Many of these arches can be effectively managed with the correct footwear; however some also require a customised or prescription orthotic to set the foundations of the foot. 4 Life Physiotherapy considers that our feet are so important that we offer 3D Gaitscan Technology at no cost our patients. To book a 3D Gaitscan to see if your feet are contributing to your foot, ankle, knee, hip or back pain call and make an appointment today.
- Work Smart
Ensuring proper ergonomics at work will significantly reduce the likelihood of work related low back pain. Did you know that ergonomic injuries are not only caused by lifting? Infact sitting will load the discs of the spine 3 times as much as standing. Make sure your workstation (whether laptop, phone, computer desk, or even your car) is set correctly for your height and in a manner that promotes a good posture. Be sure to rotate tasks regularly to avoid prolonged periods of sitting. If you are unsure whether you are seated correctly at your work station please contact us for educated advice.
- Listen to the WARNING SIGNS
Too often when we see people with more serious cases of back pain, neck pain, sciatica or headaches we hear “I didn’t come sooner because I thought it would get better on its own”. It’s important to listen to your body and pain in the back or neck is not normal and should be assessed by a Physiotherapist so that the problem doesn’t worsen and become more serious. It is also important to listen to your body when exercising, attending the gym or performing heavy or repetitive work to make sure you don’t “over-do-it” and give yourself a strain or sprain injury.
- Stop Smoking
People who smoke have a significantly increased likelihood of developing low back pain and also with a lengthened recovery. Smoking interferes with the blood flow to the soft tissues of the spine, particularly the discs, resulting in increased degeneration of the spine. Smoking is also associated with changes in the brain that result in a much higher incidence of chronic (long term) low back pain. Research has shown, however, that quitting smoking can help a large extent reverse in these brain changes and result in improved outcomes.
- Keep Hydrated
The lack of proper hydration can affect the spine and can be one of the contributors to lower back pain. Keep a bottle of water handy every day to promote a healthy drinking habit. If you struggle to have those 8 important cups of water per day, try adding some cut up fruit to your water. Fruits like lemon, kiwi and strawberries can zest up any simple bottle of water!
Your back does so much to protect you so protect it back!
For more helpful Health and Lifestyle tips visit our website, Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/4lifephysiotherapy or contact our friendly reception desk on
08 9583 5800 to make an appointment.
Care for your back 4 Life at 4 Life Physiotherapy!