Protecting Your Back in the Morning
While you're rushing around trying to get ready in the morning you might be cutting corners and opening yourself up for back injuries. Here are some simple ways to protect and support your back during your morning routine.
The bathroom can be very stressful to a back that is cold, stiff, and not yet ready to bend. Once out of bed, many people start the day with a trip to the toilet. You probably have not spent much time thinking about how this can be stressful to your back, but hazards abound.
Sinks can be the next challenge for your back. Sinks are built too low for many people. Brushing your teeth or washing your hands can place a lot of stress on your back. Next time you brush your teeth, stop and check what position your low back is in. Odds are that you will catch yourself standing bent over the sink with all of your upper body weight hanging on your low back. Improve this position to reduce the stress on your back. Consider raising the countertop and sink or, more realistically, try placing a hand on the countertop to support yourself while you brush.
Here are a couple of ways to help your back when you use the toilet.
First, as you sit down and stand up, place at least one hand on your thigh or on a countertop to support your back and body weight. The best option would be one hand on your thigh and the other on the counter if that doesn't involve any twisting or reaching. The more you can get your arms to do, the less your back will have to strain. Keep your back straight to avoid hanging all of your weight on your low back.
If it seems like a long way down to or up from your toilet, maybe your toilet is too low. The lower you have to bend to sit down, the greater the stress that is placed on the low back. Consider an elevated seat cushion, which can be purchased from a medical supply store, or consider having your toilet raised. Also, pay attention to where your toilet-paper holder is situated. Some toilet-paper holders are placed behind the toilet, forcing you to twist your back around to reach the paper. This movement is not good for a healthy back that is warmed up and stretched out, let alone for a cold, stiff back that just woke up. If the toilet paper is behind you, move it. Finally, some people choose the toilet as a place to read the newspaper or their favorite magazine. Although this is good for the brain, choose a friendlier location for your back.
Lift Your Feet
Forced bending and twisting of the spine is one of the worst activities for your back. Does sitting on the edge of the bed, with your feet on the floor and then bending over and twisting to put your socks on sound familiar? A way of making this task easier on your back is to bring your feet up toward your back. Try placing your heels on the edge of the bed or a chair and then putting on your socks or shoes. Also, the type of socks you wear does make a difference. Tight or very tall socks require more time and effort than do short or looser-fitting ones. If you have trouble getting your shoes on, try using a shoehorn.
Wear the Right Shoes
Shoes play an important role in the comfort of your feet and your back. Flat, thin-soled shoes often increase your back discomfort. When buying shoes, look for shoes with good arch supports and a fair amount of rubber or other soft material under the heel and sole to absorb the shock created when you walk. If you cannot find a shoe that meets these requirements, look into silicone or rubber shoe inserts. Your back will feel the difference.
Women may experience low-back pain when wearing high-heeled shoes -- and not without reason. As you remember, the low back should have a slight inward curve to it. High-heeled shoes greatly exaggerate this curve and can compress the facet joints of the spine. Wearing a lower heel is usually a better choice for your back. If you work in an environment that requires you to wear high-heeled shoes, you can help your back by wearing a pair of athletic shoes to work and then changing into your dress shoes at work. This certainly makes a long walk or a long wait at the bus stop much easier on your back. Men need to watch out for a similar problem if they wear boots with tall heels.
So we've finally got you out of the house without having to wear a back-brace. You're in the clear, right? Not even close. In fact, your car could be a major contributor to your back discomfort. In the next section, we will help your back survive that daily commute.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.