Have you ever wondered why the more you sleep, the more tired you seem to be? Even though sleeping posture puts the least stress on our spines, and helps us to rest every part of the body. When this happens, it could be because you are sleeping in an incorrect position. You may also have problems with your mattress – maybe it’s too hard or too soft – and this can also leave you waking up in the morning feeling achy all over.
For a correct sleeping posture, you should sleep facing up or on your side. The height of the pillow should be level with your head, neck and upper back, so that neither you nor the pillow is having to bend too much when you lie down. If you have problems with, you should also consider using an additional knee support pillow. To maximize support and comfort, choosing the right pillow will depend on your head shape and body size. When choosing a suitable mattress, also keep in mind that when you sleep, your mattress should support your back and keep it elevated. Your mattress should not be so soft that it caves in when you lie down, and it should not be too hard either, as this can put too much pressure on the bones and cause pain.
Whenever you sleep, you should not sleep face down. Some people like to lie face down and use their tablet or computer for long periods of time, and this is sure to cause back and neck pain, because the muscles must remain taut for a long time – much longer than usual. No matter what position you sleep in, you should reposition each time you wake up in the night, so that the body gets a chance to move around and the same areas are not under constant pressure.
Pay attention the next time you bend over to pick up something. What kind of lifting posture do you use? Do you keep your knees straight and bend only your back forward in a type of arch? If so, you should adjust your lifting technique immediately, because that arched posture is likely to cause back pain, as the back muscles will be getting all of the strain.
For a correct lifting posture, you should bend your knees so that you are almost sitting on the ground, lift the item ,keeping it close to your body, and then stand up using the strength of your legs – not your back. You should also beware of accidents when lifting, because if you lift something heavy and then something goes wrong, you could slip or something could be in your way and cause you to fall down, then it might not be just an injury to your back muscles, but could injure your spine or other organs such as hip, knees, ankles including internal organs e.g. abdominal organs, chest injury.
Playing sports is a good form of exercise, but if you do not have the right technique, then you are likely to get injured. Any sport, such as golf, can certainly be a cause of back pain, especially if you overdo it and you are not used to a certain type or level of exertion. Golfers often experience back pain due to using their back muscles and spinal column in a way in which their bodies are unaccustomed. Some amateur golfers try to copy the swing style of their favourite pros, perhaps forgetting that their own body is not yet ready for such a rigorous technique, and that their back muscles are not strong enough to withstand such heavy and repeated stress. Exercise can cause spinal injuries and inflammation of the back muscles, leading to herniated discs. To protect against injury, you should make sure to warm- up properly by stretching and flexing the muscles each time, before you play and watch your posture.
Lifting excessively heavy weights can cause back pain. If you lift weights, then you must know your limits, and should lift only as much as your body can safely carry. It is important to remember that you should increase your lifting weight gradually, not suddenly, as you are more likely to injure yourself. The amount of weight that you can life, is not an indicator of how strong your body is overall. More importantly, the strength of your cardiovascular system – the heart and lungs – provides a real measure of your body’s fitness and efficiency. While weight lifting increases muscle strength, it should always be combined with cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging and aerobic exercise, in order to help stimulate the performance of the heart and lungs. Gaining muscle and increasing heart and lung strength, will ultimately increase your overall health. It is important to always use the correct posture when lifting weights and to stay within your limits. Sometimes you may require the supervision of an expert or trainer, who can help you to get the most from your weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise.
In the digital age in which we live, we cannot deny that the smartphones fill much of our time. While modern communication methods are great things, which allow us to work faster, to get more done, and to be more connected than ever before. However, being hunched over our smartphones for extended periods of time can cause neck pain, shoulder pain and back pain. It can also cause eye problems from squinting at the screen for too long, and from looking at dangerous blue light rays.
Research shows us that slouching forward just 15 degrees when using a smartphone puts an extra 12kg of weight, more than the weight of an average head, on the collarbone, shoulders, neck and spine.* In one day, if we are hunched over our smartphone screens for two to four hours, the spine and neck will be under extremely heavy pressure. This amounts to 700 to 1,400 hours of heavy pressure per year. Excessive use of technology leads to neck pain, back pain, arm pain, headaches and numbness of the hands. If you do not treat these symptoms quickly and correct your posture, you could eventually develop degenerative disc disease far too early in your life. Try limiting your technology use and correct your sitting posture by bringing your smartphone to eye level, or tilt the screen up 30 degrees so that your neck is not craning downward.
“What should you do to correct your posture so that it will cause you less problems in the future? Remember that any excessive physical exertion can cause injury, and that if you can avoid hunching over a phone to excess, you may also avoid various aches and pains.”
* Source: Research paper by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, Head of Orthopedic Surgery, New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine, first published in Surgical Technology International.