If you are dealing with back pain some of the easiest tasks in life might prove to be more difficult. If you find brushing your teeth, plucking your eyebrows or shaving too uncomfortable try this out.
Most often when brushing our teeth we lean forward over the sink, bending over at the lower back, in case toothpaste drips. There are two ways you can minimize the discomfort while brushing your teeth. One way is to simply stand up straight. The other way is it support your upper body by placing your free hand on the sink and sticking your buttocks out. Sticking the buttocks out helps you bend at your hips and keep your lower back neutral. The less bending at the lower back and the upper body support lessen the stress on the spine an the muscles supporting the spine.
Dr Notley’s practice is an evidence informed, multi-modal treatment method which combines spinal manipulation/mobilization, exercises, acupuncture and other modes of care, along with patient education. Dr Notley is available, by appointment, through the following link https://drnotley.com/contact.
You may be suffering with back pain right now and it is excruciating to get into or out of your bed.
Dr Notley, Winnipeg Chiropractor and Athletic therapist, demonstrates two methods on how to get into and out of your bed when you are experiencing back pain. Though you may still experience pain hopefully this will minimize the discomfort.
Slide hands down your thighs and your hips flex forward. This is the short stop position.
Place one hand on the bed and lift up the leg closest to the bed.
Place the other hand on the bed and lower your body down onto the bed.
Lift the other leg up onto the bed.
Reverse the order to stand up.
Facing away from the bed move into the short stop position to help you sit down onto the bed.
Lower yourself onto one elbow as you bring your legs up onto the bed.
Lower yourself onto your shoulder.
Turn your hips and pelvis at the same time to roll onto your back.
You may have noticed when you wake up in the morning that your spine is more stiff than it was before you went to bed.
I’d like to explain why this happens.
Why is my back stiffer in the morning?
The intervertebral discs between our vertebrae are made up of multiple, strong, fibrous layers called the annulus fibrosis. The annulus encases the nucleus pulposus which is a jelly like substance. This jelly substance is attracted to water.
When we wake up in the morning our spine is approximately 19mm longer than it is at the end of the day. This is because when laying down the force of gravity on our spine is less than the force of attraction of the water to the nucleus pulposus. Therefore, water is drawn into the intervertebral disc.
This increase in water in the discs reduces the ability of the spine to bend forward by between 5 and 6 degrees. Bending stresses on the spine are increased by 300% and stress on the ligaments is increased 80%.
Sadly, the muscles don’t seem to compensate for this stiffness by restricting the lumbar spine’s bending range of motion. Therefore, when we bend forward this increased stress on the spine increases our chance of aggravating or injuring our spine.
Thankfully, approximately 50% of increased disc height is reduced within the first hour of the day.
Should I workout in the morning?
Based on this information it is highly recommended that if you want to exercise avoid spinal based movements that involve flexing the spine or bending within the first hour.
For those with chronic lower back pain this advice holds true as well. Do your best to minimize the amount of bending that you perform within the first hour of the day. Plan your day out, the night before, so that the first parts of your day involve less bending and heavy lifting. Later in the day these activities would be more appropriate.
When you are injured the degree of pain is not proportional to the degree of damage. There are more variables that are involved than tissue damage. The body, brain, interprets how dangerous the situation is. It looks at the present situation (ie, physical, emotional, environmental, psychological variable), past injury situations, and it looks at the future consequences of the injury. It evaluates the situation and then outputs what degree of threat it is.
One person may stub their toe and just keep on going. Another person, who had previously broken their toe, may be writhing in pain.
For some, they may tend towards anxiety, depression, or they may catastrophize the situation. This increases the danger and thus more pain will be experienced. A draw back to this is that these “Danger in Me” thoughts cause people to avoid what they need to do. This slows their progress in rehab, reducing their enjoyment and quality of life.
My job, with my athletes, is to reduce the anxieties or worries of their pain. Also, I am to help put themselves in situations where they can work the injured area in a “Safe in Me” environment. Building themselves up to the point where they can enjoy their sport, activity or life again.