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Tips for Back Pain Relief & Protecting Your Spine

Correct body movements and positions can help slow the process of degeneration and protect your back for life. Every time you lie down, lift, stand, sit, or bend, keep your spine in mind. Your chiropractor may recommend the following "right moves" or may have other recommendations for you. After a while, protecting your back will become second nature to you.

When you are feeling tightness and soreness you may want to try applying heat and ice to the area that is hurting. When using heat, moist heat is more beneficial. Moist heat application can be accomplished by a warm bath shower or moist heat pad. If you have a dry heating pad, wrap the pad securely in a plastic baggy, and cover the baggy with a small damp towel. Turn the heating pad on and this will produce moist heat.

  • For ice application, you may put ice cubes in a plastic bag and apply or use an ice pack. Also available at your local drug store or at this office are gel ice packs that are reusable.
  • Heat relaxes the muscles, but can cause inflammation. Ice reduces the inflammation, but can cause muscles to tighten; therefore, the process of alternating moist heat and ice can be beneficial.

If you sleep on your back. Place a pillow under your head and shoulders, a rolled up towel under your neck, and one under your knees to maintain your three curves. Always use a supportive mattress, and never sleep on your stomach.

If you sleep on your side. Place a pillow under your head and neck and make sure that your neck is level with the rest of your spine. Put a pillow between your knees, and bend them to relieve strain on your low back. Keep a pillow near your chest so your upper body doesn't roll forward.

Before getting out of bed. Stretch, raise up slowly, and use your arms to support you as you swing your legs to the floor. Getting out of bed correctly may prevent an injury to your spine.

When you lift. Whether it's laundry, a child, or a bag of groceries, bend you knees (not your back), and keep the load close to your body. Use your stomach and leg muscles to lift and set down loads.

Whenever you stand. Especially for long periods of time, place one foot on a stool or a low cabinet shelf underneath to take the strain off your back. If it's not possible to elevate one foot, shift your weight frequently.

When you're sitting. Support your low back with a rolled up towel (or any special pillow your chiropractor may recommend), and keep your knees level with or slightly above your hips. Position reading materials or the TV at eye level.

When bending. Bend your knees slightly and lower yourself to the surface you need. When possible, use one hand to support yourself.

When you're doing chores. Such as gardening or vacuuming; bend your upper spine and middle spine slightly, keeping your chin up. Don't bend too far forward; it puts too much strain on your lower spine.

If you're writing on a flat surface. Use one hand to support your head. Get up to stretch often. And be sure to use a supportive chair.

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