General Back-saving Tips
This article is an excerpt from Dr. Tuchinsky's book Back Pain: It's All in Your Neck.
This article is part of a six-part series:
The following list of tips will help you maintain the health of your spine in various aspects of your life.
- In the car, keep the seat close to the steering wheel to avoid bending forward. Your body should be no further than 10 inches from the steering wheel.
- Getting in and out of the car, you should sit on the seat first with both feet on the ground, and then swing your legs in.
- If your car seat is not firm, use a small pillow for your lumbar curve.
- The car seat should be tilted so your thighs are level, or your knees slightly higher than your hips.
- When traveling by plane or bus, do not carry unbalanced loads of luggage
- Travel light. Do not over-pack.
- If traveling by plane, relieve the tension of sitting in one posture by walking up and down the aisle for ten minutes every hour or so.
- If traveling by car, plan to stop and stretch your back regularly.
- In the bathroom, when you brush your teeth or shave, avoid leaning unsupported over the sink. Open a vanity door to rest a foot on the inside shelf or balance yourself with a free hand.
- Never watch television or read in bed with your head propped forward. This stresses the neck vertebrae.
- Do not sit in deep couches or soft chairs. Never flop into a seat, as this may strain the neck with a whiplash effect.
- Keep a positive outlook. A good attitude can ensure that you maintain good back habits, but may also increase biological resistance to trauma.
- Avoid carrying unbalanced loads of any kind.
- When you cough or sneeze, round your back and bend your knees slightly. Do not turn your head to sneeze. If you have to turn away, turn your entire body.
- When making the bed, do so from a kneeling position.
Break the cycle of pain. When pain does occur, the muscles respond by tensing. This tensing causes further pain, which causes further tensing, and so on. This vicious cycle of spasm-reflex can make the episode of back pain seem infinite. Through techniques such as massage, traction, or precise vertebral adjustments, this cycle can be broken, allowing the body to re-adjust itself to a healthy balance. Through careful maintenance of the spine, you can avoid getting into the pain cycle in the first place.