When it comes to reducing or avoiding those aches and pains, you will be pleased to hear that there is so much you can do to help yourself. But don’t worry, you can breathe a sigh of relief because what I share with you today won’t take more time. It does however, require a bit of self-reflection and some potential fine tuning when it comes to your current habits!
You see, your body is very clever, it will respond to the things you do and the habits that you create and often those aches and pains you experience are an accumulation of stress from the small things you do each day, without even realising.
If you sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, then spend the rest of the evening on your phone or device looking down, over time your head and neck will creep forward putting stress on your spine and causing the muscles to get tight at the back of your neck and shoulders. Daily tasks like looking over your shoulder whilst driving, cooking and cleaning may start to become hard work because you feel tense and restricted. You may start to notice headaches occurring regularly. Your lower back might start to feel stiff and achy too even while just standing for a few minutes because it is under stress from the weight of your body when sitting. That, combined with everyday life, may make you feel like you have the weight of the whole world on your shoulders.
But what happens if you adapt these habits? Over time, your body will respond positively. Combining that with the focused chiropractic and sports therapy care and your aches and pains will begin to ease as your body starts to function better, and long-term change can be created. In turn, you get to enjoy the things you love which is what we want for you.
Here are 5 habits you can adapt to keep your body and spine working at its best at home:
1. Prolonged sitting
Whether it be in the car, at your desk or relaxing on your sofa, sitting unfortunately doesn’t help the health of your spine. The best thing you can do is set a timer and stand up, have a wiggle, or take a short walk, then sit back down. Repeat every 30 minutes. If you are driving, be sure to include regular stops, try to aim for at least every hour. Whilst you are driving, if you feel safe to do so, gently move your spine, and keep your head close to the head rest to help reduce that tension.
Technology is an integral part of our lives, but how much of your time is spent doing essential work, and how much is spent watching YouTube or scrolling social media? (Don’t worry, reading this blog is essential for your health so we give you full permission to keep going!) Reducing screen time where you can will do wonders for your body. Whether it is a laptop, phone or TV, over time watching screens encourages that forward flexed position we’ve already mentioned. A big thing you can do to help yourself is elevate your screen while working so it is slightly above your eye line, highly recommend anyone working to do this straight away, go grab a nice thick book and place it underneath the computer! This will help to keep your body upright and reduce that stress on your spine.
3. Crossing legs
Some of the positions we put ourselves in create a lot of tension through our body. Whether it is simply crossing one leg over the other whilst out for coffee, or twisting yourself up when watching your favourite film, it may well be the thing that is exacerbating your issue. Quite often we see this manifest as lower back, glute or referred leg pain. Keep checking in with yourself throughout the day and remain in that neutral position where possible, with both feet on the ground. And don’t forget, stand up and move around when you can.
4. Using one side
Whether it be carrying the shopping, having a bag over one shoulder, doing gardening, whatever the activity be mindful of only relying on one side. You will likely have a dominant side and hand, but if carrying out tasks for sustained periods of time, be sure to use both sides of your body where possible. This will create more balance and reduce uneven loading and wear through your joints.
5. Sleeping positions
On average we spend over 25 years of our life in bed! That is a lot of time, so it is understandable that the position of your body at night is just as important as the day. When you are in bed this evening, take a moment to check in with yourself. Is your spine in a neutral position? Checking the depth of your pillow so it is keeping your head in line with your spine and being mindful of your sleeping position can make a huge difference to how your body feels the next day.
There is so much you can do proactively to help yourself by adapting your current day to day. Making these simple changes will not only accelerate your progress with your chiropractic care, but it will help your body long term.
Why not take some time today to observe yourself, really be present with what you are doing and how your body is feeling? By taking that time, you will probably notice other areas you can adapt too.
Be sure to get in touch or discuss these with us at your next appointment if you want to go through any of them in more detail.