1. Standing. Stand facing a mirror. Look at your shoulders - does one seem higher than the other? Look at your neck - does it tilt to one side or stick forward? Pretend that an imaginary string is pulling gently through the top of your head. Notice how your posture improves automatically when you try to be taller? Keep your abdominals slightly contracted to maintain this posture. When walking, make sure that your arms are moving comfortably back and forth, feeling the rotation through your torso. 2. Sitting. Sit all the way back in your chair so you feel your lower back against the back rest. Avoid prolonged sitting on soft couches when watching TV, as this causes excessive slouching. Try to keep your feet flat on the floor and angle your chair so that your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Try using a small rolled-up towel for your lower back if you need more support while sitting. If you work at a computer, make sure 3 Ways To Improve Your POSTURE
that your keyboard and mouse are slightly lower than the level of your elbow. You may need to adjust your seat higher to make this happen. 3. Bending. Most back injuries occur when bending and twisting at the same time. When you need to bend down to get something from a low surface, make sure you squat, and keep your abdominals tight as you do so. In addition, if you are lifting something, get your body as close as possible to what you are lifting. Try having one leg forward to use your legs more to lift, rather than your back. Contact us for assistance: As part of your physical therapy treatment, we can teach you proper posture, bending, and lifting techniques to protect your body from future injuries and make sure you stay healthy for the long-haul.
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TIPS FOR SPRING GARDENING
Common gardening activities, such as digging, planting, weeding, mulching, and raking can cause stress and strain on muscles and joints. Different body areas such as the shoulders, neck, back, and knees can be vulnerable to injury during gardening. These tips can help prevent injuries: • Warmup before you garden. A 10minute brisk walk and stretches for the spine and limbs are good ways to warm up. • Change positions frequently to avoid stiffness or cramping.
• Makeuseofagardencartorwheelbarrow to move heavy planting materials or tools. Be sure to keep your back straight while using a wheelbarrow. • If kneeling on both knees causes discomfort in your back, try kneeling on one and keep the other foot on the ground. Use knee pads or a gardening pad when kneeling. • If kneeling or leaning down to the ground causes significant pain in your back or knees, consider using elevated planters to do your gardening. • Avoid bending your wrist upwards when
pulling things or using gardening tools. Instead, keep your wrist straight and use your shoulder muscles to pull and lift. • End your gardening session with some gentle backward bending of your low back, a short walk and light stretching, similar to stretches done before starting.
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