Spinal Self-Help Guide
There are many strategies that you can use to assist your recovery from a spinal injury. Presented below are some self-help guides that can be effective in conjunction with manual physio by maintaining longer pain-easing periods following your treatment.
Pain in the neck can affect your lifestyle significantly. It can affect your driving, sleeping, working and personal quality of life.
However, with a few simple management tips and the timely and appropriate treatment, acute neck pain bouts and future bouts can be controlled.
The positions in which you work and relax each day have a great impact on the health of your spine. Maintaining a good position of your spine is important in everyday activities as well as during the exercises.
- Gently lift the base of your skull off the top of your neck. This takes the load off your neck and stimulates the muscles to work.
- Arrange your desk, computer and chair to avoid strain on your neck.
- Position your screen slightly below eye level and directly in front of you.
- Have an adjustable chair so that you can change the height and back support.
- Sit with hips, knees and elbows at close to 90 degree angles.
- Document holder should be at the same eye level as the screen and close to the monitor.
- Use a headset if your job entails extensive use of a telephone.
- While driving the car your head should rest on the head support, your chair upright and the mirrors suitably adjusted.
- When sitting at home, ensure that your head is supported on the lounge or against a pillow.
- Before sleep or at the end of a day, lie down with a wheat bag under your neck and perform gentle movement exercises.
- Think before you lift. Test the weight. Avoid reaching to lift objects or lifting awkwardly. Carry the object close to your body.
- When working at a work or kitchen bench try to bend through your hips keeping your back from bending and keep your chin in. Position one foot up on a step or ledge to unload the force throughout your spine. Take breaks every 15 minutes.
- Carry fewer bags of groceries from the car at a time. There will be more trips but less strain on your neck.
- When carrying children, change sides regularly. Use slings, backpacks or strollers.
- Spread out house cleaning over a few days. Rotate the cleaning tasks; don't do the same task all at once. Lower the clothes line to reduce the strain on your neck.
Exercises for your neck (pdf)
Exercises for your middle spine (pdf)
Exercises for your low back (pdf)