The familiar sound of the alarm clock – another day and the beginning of another hectic week…
You make the bed, bending at each corner.
In the bathroom, you hunch over the sink to brush your teeth – then the sound of little feet running down the hallway. The kids were awake, and all that that entails.
In a suit, wearing high heels with little traction, which you notice when you pick up your toddler, who is becoming heavier every day.
Drive the kids to school.
Arrive at work. Heft your over-stuffed leather bag over your shoulder and scurry through the office doors.
Your morning is filled with telephone calls and last minute deadlines. A headache is beginning.
At your desk you type and talk on the telephone at the same time, the phone cradled between your shoulder and chin.
Your computer screen appears blurry and your wrists are stiff. And then you realize that you’re not going to make your deadline.
At quitting time you throw your bag in the back seat and start the stressful trek to home.
At home you can’t wait to take off your shoes. This time when you lift your toddler you actually wince – your neck and joints are in pain and you would love a steaming hot shower, but the kids are in the bathtub.
At eleven o’clock you climb into bed. But your pillows are not comfortable, your neck needs a little more support, you make a mental note about checking pillows as you drift off to sleep, completely exhausted.
Remind you of anyone?
The more stressful our lives become, the less we focus on the “moment.” When we aren’t conscious of how we sleep, breathe, stand, lift, bend or sit, our bodies can take a beating that results in lingering pain. We often disregard the early signs of discomfort we feel in our back, shoulders or neck until we are unable to ignore the pain.
By following the tips below, you can learn to make even the busiest days pain free.
- When you wake in the morning, start the day with a couple of stretches. Stand up and stretch your arms above your head. Do the “hug your best friend.” Wrap your arms around your body, and turn as far as you can to the left, then to the right.
- When performing everyday routines such as brushing your teeth, remember your posture. Do not hunch over the sink; stand up straight.
- Don’t bend from the waist when you lift a child. Squat with your back straight. Keep the child close to you and use your arms and legs to lift.
- Hold the telephone with your hand or use the speakerphone. Cradling the phone between your head and shoulder can lock up the spinal joints in the neck and upper back, eventually causing pain.
- While in the office, make sure your chair fits correctly. There should be two inches between the front edge of your seat and the back of your knees. The chair should tilt back so you are able to rest while reading from a computer screen.
- Many people suffer from tension headaches. Adequate lighting and document holders by your computer can help reduce the risk of a headache. Materials placed on a desk cause you to constantly raise and lower your neck while you’re typing at your keyboard.
- Do not wear high heels. The weight of the foot is not evenly distributed, which not only causes sore feet, but also added spinal stress.
- Do not carry a heavy bag with its strap over your shoulder, unless you place the strap over your head on the side opposite the bag. Wearing a shoulder strap over one shoulder unevenly places the weight of the bag on one side of the body, potentially causing shoulder and back pain. Or better yet, carry a bag with a handle rather than a strap.
- Do not consistently cross the same knee over the other. This habit can eventually cause misalignment of the spine.
- Even if you remain sitting for the majority of your workday, you deserve a break. Get up from your desk and move around, stretching arms and legs as much as possible to avoid postural and spinal stress. Try to practice deep and even breathing to keep yourself calm and keep adequate oxygen flowing through your system.
- Bath time can be fun for the kids but stressful on any parent. Make certain to bend from the waist and not the back when bathing your children. Use your legs when you lift your child.
- It is important to get a good night’s rest. Choose a comfortable mattress and pillow that adequately support the weight of your head and body.