The spine is responsible for bearing a person’s weight, keeping the body upright, and plays a crucial role in the central nervous system. If there are problems with it, a number of issues including pain, numbness, or spasms can be experienced.
Housed within the vertebrae of the spine is the spinal cord, which communicates messages between the body and the brain. If its curvature is out of alignment, your spine might be causing you suffering due to damage to its discs, or it becoming unstable.
Some spine problems can be attributed to everyday activities that put it under undue stress and strain. Contrary to common belief, such problems aren’t limited to just adults – children can be impacted too. Check out this list of everyday things you may be doing that might hurt your spine and how to address them.
1. Heavy bags
Backpacks, overstuffed handbags, or shopping bags carried on one side of the body throws off the weight distribution of your body. The spine tilts towards one side, and doing this position repeatedly can cause neck pain and spine damage.
Try lightening your load or carrying your bag(s) close to the center of your body so you can maintain an even weight distribution. If you have more than one bag, divide them between both hands. For suitcase lugging, get one with wheels or keep it close to your center of gravity.
2. High heels
While your outfit might be on point with heels, your posture probably isn’t. Walking or standing in heels causes the back and hips to flex, making the wearer lean forward and knocking the spine out of alignment.
Besides wearing flats or wearing high heel for shorter periods throughout the day, you can adjust the habit by doing leg stretches or wearing shorter heels. By implementing these changes you will protect your lower back/spine, leg muscles, and feet.
3. Craning for your device
Craning your neck downwards to game, text, or watch vids on your smartphone for extended periods of time puts undue pressure on your spine. A study published in Surgical Technology Journal indicates you could be putting as much as 60 pounds of weight on your neck each time you tilt your head to use a device.
Over time, the hours of craning your neck add up, and can lead to abnormal curvatures, disc degeneration, and tissue damage in the spine. Take frequent breaks to rest and stretch your neck. Make a habit of bringing your device up to eye level or look at it by solely moving your eyes.
4. Sleeping on your tummy
For those who sleep on their bellies, back and neck pain could be a direct result of their sleeping position. Spending the night on one’s stomach puts a lot of pressure on the spine’s arch and neck, and can lead to pain in the neck, back, or joints.
Compressing the spine for hours in this position is also linked to numbness and tingling in the body. Sleeping on your back is better, but switching to a side-sleeping position can be a happy compromise. If you sleep in the fetal position, be sure to tilt your chin upwards so that your neck is straight. You can use a body pillow between your legs to take the strain off the lower back and hips and to align the spine.
5. Watching TV
It’s not the TV that’s the culprit, it’s your position. If you usually lie on the couch with your head on the armrest for at least 30 minutes or longer, you are throwing your spine out of alignment and doing so day after day can have long term effects.
Sitting with your body in a slump, with your hand propping your head up, or with your head turned to the side is another position that also negatively affects the spine. It’s a good idea to frequently change positions, stretch, or move your furniture to avoid posture problems.
6. Lifting incorrectly
Too much strain from improper lifting can cause disc damage. When lifting object above the shoulders, twisting the body can strain the spine heavily. Use a step stool or small ladder to avoid injury. For heavier objects, always have someone assist you.
7. Household chores
Vacuuming, mopping up, and similar chores are a good form of physical activity, but it is important to maintain a good posture to prevent back pain and spinal strain. When doing тхе dishes, place one foot inside of a cupboard or rest a bended knee on a chair to keep your weight even and the spine aligned.
While doing chores liking mopping, shoveling, or vacuuming, avoid bending from the waist. Instead, position your body as if you’re doing a lunge, with one foot forward and the knee partially bent. This will help keep your back straight and reduce the chance of stressing the spine.
8. Riding a bike
Cycling is great exercise, but if you ride a bike that’s not a good fit for your body type it can aggravate your spinal column or cause neck pain. It is key to have the seat positioned above the handlebars so that you’re not overextending the body when you ride.
If you’re prone to back or spine issues, try choosing either a stationary bike or one with long handlebars that are closer to the body. Look for a model that has shock absorption features and a cushy seat that will help you avoid leaning forward for long periods. It is also possible to have a bike adjusted to fit your body.
Warming up your muscles before performing chores or other physical activities can reduce strain on the back. Always take care of your posture and whether you have back pain that comes and goes or is chronic, make sure you visit a chiropractor or your family physician for advice.
* This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances.