A man holding his stomach with discomfort evident on his face.

Things Aren’t Always As They Appear…

Can you see pain?

Well you can often see when a patient is in pain, they have that look on their face…

But you really can’t see pain.  Patients may come in with perfect posture yet can be in tremendous pain.  Or they may come in bent forward or leaning to one side yet don’t really feel any pain at all.  How we appear to others can be very misleading.  In the same way you may be feeling fine but there may be issues lurking just below the surface.

Have you ever taken a look at an x-ray – it is a snapshot in time – it doesn’t show pain – it shows bones and alignment and a little soft tissue but it doesn’t show pain.

What matters is how your body functions and handles everyday stresses.  Movement is key to a healthy body – and a properly functioning spine and musculo-skeletal system plays a big part when it comes to having a healthy body.

Movement can encompass many aspects – regular exercise or working out, walking, stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting up frequently when stuck at your desk all day…etc.

But we can’t be moving all the time like dolphins – did you know that dolphins have the ability to keep moving while they sleep – in fact their very lives depend on it! They actually shut down half their brain and the opposite eye while they are sleeping.

I KNOW – some mornings I feel like I slept like a dolphin.

So when we are not moving we need to support our bodies as best we can.

On a previous blog I talked about SIT, STAND and SLEEP.

A few tips I recommend:

SIT

  • if possible sit with your back supported with some type of lumbar support.
  • always take frequent breaks from sitting (when possible).
  • try to never cross your legs while sitting (more than one reason).
  • in general a firm chair is better for you than “soft and comfy”.
  • sitting with knees and hips at 90 degree bend is considered ideal but also sitting a little higher with thighs slanted slightly downwards may be better in some cases.

STAND

  • if you find it necessary to stand for extending periods of time try unlocking your knees to provide better balance and less strain to your feet.
  • rock side to side to give your legs and feet a bit of a break.
  • if you find it more comfortable to stand on one leg with the other slightly bent you may be compensating for an imbalanced sacrum or pelvis – time for a checkup.

SLEEP

  • do you toss and turn most of the night – wake up frequently and roll over – we wake up because we are uncomfortable.
  • this is the time your body heals and restores itself – quality sleep should be a priority.
  • in general stomach sleeping is the hardest on your body.
  • try sleeping flat on your back with a fairly low pillow under your head and if necessary a small pillow under your knees – this helps to relax the low back.
  • side sleeping can be very comfortable – try putting a pillow between your knees and use a thicker/firmer pillow to fill the space between your head and shoulder.
  • mattress choice – generally the firmer the better without sacrificing comfort.

If you have any questions be sure to ask next time you are in the office.

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