Be kind to your spine

Back pain is the most commonly reported pain condition in America. It affects 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. In fact, one-quarter of American adults report having low-back pain lasting at least one whole day in the past three months. In some instances, the pain can become chronic resulting in impaired quality of life and enjoyment, decreased productivity, and increased health care costs. Imagine being unable to get out of bed easily (or at all), dress ourselves, pick up our child or grandchild, or work and make a living.

Body mechanics describes the way we move as we go about our daily lives. It includes how we hold our bodies when we stand, sit, sleep, and lift. And poor body mechanics can result in pain, injury, and degeneration of spinal structures like discs and joints. Let’s take a look at how we can improve our body’s mechanics.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Being Kind To Our Spine

Posture

Slouching can put stress on the muscles and ligaments that support our spine. Experts recommend aligning our ears with our shoulders as well as drawing our shoulder blades back, like “angel wings.”

Our head weighs approximately 10 pounds. And, for every inch that we tilt it forward—slouching, looking down at our mobile phones, reading a book in our lap—the pressure doubles. Two or three inches can equate to 20-30 pounds of weight on our spine!

Balanced diet

Eating well is a key component to maintaining a healthy weight. And extra pounds add strain, stress, or tilting that can contribute to back pain.

Additionally, we want to nourish the muscles and ligaments that support our spine and the bones that comprise it. Lean proteins, fruit and veggies, and healthy fats provide the needed nutrients. And, calcium and vitamin D are essential to keeping our bones strong and fending off osteoporosis, a condition where our bones become weak and are more likely to fracture.

Sleeping

We spend approximately one-third of our lives slumbering. So it is important we are “appropriately positioned.” Compared to sleeping on our stomach or back, sleeping on our side places the least amount of pressure on our spine. Strategically placing pillows for support under our head and in between our legs can decrease pressure as well.

Additionally, our mattresses, matter. Experts recommend firm mattresses and flipping them twice a year and examining for wear and tear, dents and dings.

Commuting

We spend a lot of time sitting in our cars. And it is no surprise that poor posture in our vehicle can be “back breaking.” When driving, consider: adjusting our seats so we do not have to lean forward to hold the steering wheel; bending our knees and hips as opposed to keeping our legs stretched; keeping our buttocks against the back of the seat to avoid slouching; and utilizing pillows (or a towel) to sit on, between the shoulder blades, or behind the curve of our lower back.

Desk jobs

Many of us sit at a desk for many, many, many hours a day. And, poor posture and looking down can put unnecessary stress on our spines. Some tips to “straighten up” our posture while sitting include: positioning our computer at eye level; keeping our knees at 90 degrees and our spine aligned; utilizing a footrest; and getting up and moving around frequently.

Lifting items

Avoid bending and twisting by turning toward the object and then picking it up; this decreases unnecessary force on our spine’s facet joints and disks. And whenever possible, push heavy items instead of pulling. This allows us to use both our leg and back muscles to move an object.

Experts have described a number of ergonomic methods to lift objects:

  • Squat lift (heavy objects): get as close as possible to the object, plant our feet shoulder width apart, squat down, and wrap our arms around it. Use our legs—the strongest and largest muscles in our body—to stand up while keeping our head up, shoulder blades in “angel wing” position, and spine straight. The fulcrum, or bending points, should be at the hips, knees, and ankles, not our backs. When putting the object down, use the same technique.
  • Golfer’s life (light objects): place all of our weight on one leg. Then place the opposite hand on a support—chair, desk, wall—and bend straight over from the hip. The non-weight-bearing leg will come up off the ground a little. Make sure to keep our head up and back straight.
  • Crane lift (baby, clothes inside a hamper): set our feet shoulder-width apart and bend our knees slightly. Then, bend at the hips, keep our buttocks out behind us, and pull the item towards our body while keeping our head and back straight.

Reduce stress

Muscle tension can lead to back pain. Consequently, activities that decrease stress—yoga, meditation, deep breathing—can help prevent back pain.

Quit smoking

It is believed that lighting up can narrow blood vessels, which equates to a decrease and oxygen and nutrients getting to our spine. This “starvation” state increases our risk for a back injury as well as its ability to heal.

Our spine is our backbone. Its bones, muscles, nerves, and other tissues are critical to nearly every move we make. If you suffer with back pain consult your doctor. Our spine is particularly vulnerable to injury and wear and tear. All the more reason we should learn to “Handle With Care.”

This information is for educational purposes and should not be considered specific medical advice. Always consult with a qualified medical professional regarding your individual circumstances.

Dr. Nina Radcliff is dedicated to her profession, her patients and her community, at large. She is passionate about sharing wise preventive health measures. Contact her on Facebook or Twitter @drninaradcliff.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like