Tips for Back & Neck Care
- Sit upright [not in a military posture!]
- Use a backrest while sitting. Backrest should be high reaching up to the head so as to support the neck; it should not be straight, it should be curved to match the natural contours of the spine. Your spine is not a straight structure, so placing a curved structure on a flat back rest does not cause good pressure distribution.
- Rest your hands on the armrests of the chair. This partly offloads the spine as the body weight gets transmitted through the upper limbs.
- Among all the positions; sitting, standing, walking and lying down, the load on the spine is maximum in the sitting position. So, do not sit continuously; sit for 20-30 minutes, then get up, walk around for about 5 minutes and then sit down.
- While lying down, it is better to follow the sequence as shown below. This would greatly relieve the stress on your lower back. While getting up, the same principle is to be followed, of course, in the reverse sequence.
Step 1: To sit down
Step 2: Gently lower your body sideways using your hands to support the body. As you lower your body, lift your legs up in a synchronous manner
Step 3: Lying down
- The ideal position to sleep is sideways, right or left, whichever is comfortable. There should be a pillow underneath the head. Pillow should be just about adequate to support the head [thickness of the pillow=the distance between the side of the head and the shoulder]. Preferably, a pillow should be kept in between the legs as well, as shown above.
- While standing for long times, rest one foot on top of a small foot-stool
- Whenever lifting heavy weights from the ground, it is always better to fold the hips and knees as shown below, to reach the ground and lift up the weight. Keep the weight close to the body so as to decrease the lever arm of the same.
- Keep the computer at a neutral eye-level, so that you have neither to bend your neck too forwards or too backwards
- Whenever working on the computer for a long time, it is better to do the following relaxation exercises every 20-30 minutes to give a good break to your neck.
- Sitting upright, gently bend your neck to the side. Repeat it on the opposite side. Do it for 10 times on either side.
Sitting upright, gently bend your neck to the side. Repeat it on the opposite side. Do it for 10 times on either side.
Sitting upright, gently bend your neck forwards and then straighten up. Repeat this ten times
Sitting upright, gently shrug your shoulders and attempt to make circular movements in the air with your shoulders. First do this in the clockwise direction and then do in the anticlockwise direction. Repeat this ten times on both the sides simultaneously, in each of the directions, clockwise and anticlockwise.
- Avoid bifocal lens since near reading would involve bending your neck backwards which is not very healthy for the spondylotic spine
- Avoid abnormal posture while reading/ watching television
- Try to decrease factors that increase anxiety/ stress/ tension since these factors tend to lead to spasm in the neck and back muscles, which would ultimately translate into neck and back pains. In fact, the neck and the back have been referred to as the “mirrors” of the mind.
- While driving, keep the car seat close to the pedals so that you do not slouch down.
- Avoid riding in 2-wheelers/ auto rickshaws. Better to travel in 4-wheelers; while traveling in the bus, better to sit in the center seats or travel standing rather than sitting in the far-front or the far-back seats
- Avoid smoking since it interferes with the blood supply to the discs, the “shock-absorbers” of the back
- In times of acute neck or lower back pain, better to avoid driving any vehicle
- When in acute low back pain, it is better to avoid bending forwards, lifting weights, sitting on the floor, using Indian style of toilet-commode
- For people getting repeated pains in the neck, or in between the shoulder blades, here are a few more exercises. It is better to avoid these exercises in times of acute pain since doing these exercises might flare up the acute pain.
Sitting upright and looking straight forwards, put one hand against the center of your forehead and press against the hand. Do not look sideways and be sure to keep the hand in the center of the forehead while doing this exercise.
Sitting upright and looking straight forwards, cross your fingers behind the head in the midline and press against the hands. Do not look sideways and be sure to keep the hands in the center of the head while doing this exercise
Sitting upright and looking straight forwards, put one hand just above the ear and press against the hand. Do not look sideways and be sure to keep the hand just above the ear while doing this exercise