If you have ever heard that you are taller in the morning compared to any other time during the day, well it’s actually true. Our spine literally becomes longer. The discs in our spine do not receive blood flow like most other joints in our body. Instead, when we lie down at night, fluid around and in our discs increases and hydration is at its highest first thing in the morning. The increased nutrients to our discs is a good thing, but there is a negative side effect.
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Discussing sleep position with patients is an important component of care. The way someone sleeps is rarely the cause of someone’s problem, but it can be one of the many factors that don’t allow their body to recover like it should. If the goal is to provide fast, long lasting relief than all factors need to be considered and sleep position can be a big one. Here is a general rule:
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It’s no secret that sitting too much can cause musculoskeletal problems or aggravate existing ones. Prolonged sitting causes stretching of our joint’s passive stabilizers, which are ligaments. The job of our ligaments are to support our joints, but when those ligaments begin to lengthen and stretch for an extended period of time, symptoms will develop. It has been shown that it can take several hours for your joints to recover and for normal tissue properties to be restored. Although quality chairs and supports may help, taking microbreaks from sitting are necessary.
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Your thoracic spine starts just below your neck and continues to the level just above your belly button. It consists of 12 vertebrae and also articulates with all 12 sets of your ribs. Although I never want to only focus on a single area of the body, movement here is crucial.
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Most people know that you are not supposed to lift with your back. However, from this knowledge the saying “lift with your knees not your back” has evolved. Unfortunately, that’s only partially correct as this information alone can cause serious consequences to our knee joints down the road if this becomes the habit. There is a better way to lift.
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Low back pain can be complex and have many different contributing factors, so to give one recommendation to everyone who sufferers from it wouldn’t make much sense. However, one large subgroup of back pain sufferers fall under what is termed “flexion-intolerant”. In this case flexion is bending forward (just like the lady in the picture). Too much flexion or bending at the low back can be detrimental to structure of the spinal joints and discs. Repetitive or prolonged flexion or bending can often times be what causes an increase or “flare-up” in low back pain. This can include repetitive lifting, sitting, or driving.
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