MATTRESSES: Sleep on a firm mattress, preferably one which is neither too hard nor too soft, but just firm enough to hold your body level while at the same time soft enough so that your shoulders, buttocks, etc. will depress into the mattress.
PILLOWS: Avoid the use of foam rubber. It is one of the primary culprits causing neck stiffness. Choose, instead, a pillow filled with feather down or manufactures fiber. Your pillow should be neither too high nor too low. The ideal pillow is one which supports your head so that your neck vertebrae will be level with the rest of your spine. Avoid sleeping on two pillows, never lie on a couch with your head on the arm rest.
SLEEPING POSITIONS: Back sleeping is the best, but sleep in a way that is comfortable. Avoid sleeping on your stomach or sleeping in which your body is torqued (i.e., on your side with your shoulder rolled forward). If sleeping on your back is causing you pain, try sleeping a pillow under you knees for relief. When sleeping on your back, the use of a slim pillow is recommended with most of the support in your neck, not your head.
WORK POSITIONS: Avoid maintaining a certain position for too long. Get up, walk around, change positions. If you job requires standing in one place for extended periods of time, consider a “step up”. A “step up” would be a 4 X 4 about 12” long. One foot is placed on this and bend at the knee, the other is on the floor and kept straight with you body weight on it. After a few minutes switch to the other leg.
CHAIRS: There is no miracle chair that is good for everyone. The proper selection will depend on your particular build. Choose a chair that has adequate firmness to hold your weight comfortably, and then sit straight. This also includes car seats. Make sure that the seat is long enough to ensure adequate thigh support and high enough so that knees and hips form right angles with feet on the floor. When driving long distances or sitting for a prolonged time, every hour or so take a break and walk and stretch. This will greatly relieve the strain of sitting in one position too long.
SHOES: Select shoes that are wide and comfortable, with slight cushioning. Avoid exaggerated heels which shorten calf and hamstring muscles. High heals will throw your back weight toward the forward part of the foot causing back strain.
SHOULDER BAGS: Shoulder bags, photographic gear, and attaché cases can be risky. Heavy loads should be balanced on both shoulders. If weight cannot be evenly divided, shift from side to side to relieve undue strain on one side.
LIFTING OBJECTS: lift with you legs, not with your back. This is a good rule to follow. Bend the knees, lift the object, and tighten the stomach as you do by pulling in and up. Hold the object lifted as close to your body as possible. For light objects, such as bending to pick up a piece of paper, there is usually no harm in doing what is call a “dead lift” with the knees straight. Many people have trouble in attempting to lift large objects from car trunks. Very often you may be tense from a long drive and stiff from sitting too long; to avoid discomfort, drag the heavy object to the rim of the trunk and gradually ease it out.
Watch your posture at all times, stand tall, sleep tall, and THINK tall!
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