Are we all a bit twisted?
This is a subject I wish to propose as a research topic as well as discussing with fellow back pain sufferers! I won’t bore you with how I came to consider this subject but I would like to point to a few ideas which might make a difference to your pain, whether it be in your back, neck, shoulder, leg, arm etc.
I have come to experience the advantages of being balanced! I’m not talking of the mind here but of the body, however I am sure both have their place! I will discuss well respected techniques and therapies in a future post but for now I just wish to consider how we use our bodies on a day to day basis.
How many of us are right or left handed and maybe use that side’s hands/arms or legs in preference to the other side?
Do we always have our computer mouse on one side? Do we hoover, sweep the leaves or clear the snow with the same twisting action to one side? Do we stand at the sink scrubbing the roasting pan with one shoulder forward? What about cleaning the car, doing the gardening, writing or one finger typing? Then there is our handbag, shopping bag or school bag? Are they always carried on one side of our body? These are just some examples of how we may use one side of our body in preference to the other.
None of these one off tasks can be bad in themselves. However if we do things repeatedly, day after day are we introducing a twist into our spine which then affects the muscles and the spinal structure in turn? If you are able to use your limbs more independently from your back then the twisting may be minimised but that is a technique that needs to be learned for many of us (I will discuss this in ‘Cure No. 1’ The Alexander Technique). Many of us unconsciously call on muscles which directly influence the back to do repetitive tasks as given above. Do these muscles then go on to influence the spine? Do they pull it in one direction with the subsequent stresses then experienced on the individual vertebrae? Do any vulnerable or damaged areas of our spines experience these stresses more acutely and tell us by the inevitable build up of pain and inflammation? (Also see the post ‘Family affairs!’)
I don’t know, but its a theory which I would wish to see investigated. But for now what can we do?
When you are going about daily repetitive tasks check to see how you are using your body? Can you try moving your mouse to the other side of your keyboard for a while (I did this once and got rid of searing pain in my shoulder within 30 mins!!), what about putting your other foot forward when hoovering or sweeping occasionally, also try standing balanced on two feet at the sink and keep your shoulders in line, when using the computer are you twisted one way or can you keep your body more in line? Also, have a look at the post ‘Sports accessory!’ to see how you can assess any patterns to your pain from using one side of your body in preference.
For normal day to day movements we need to move our bodies in free, unrestricted ways to help all our muscles to be used. However when doing repeated movements just check how twisted you really are!
(Sarah does not have a medical background so it is emphasised that her blog is the result of her experiences and listening to others only. Before doing any of the suggestions contained in her blog, check with your doctor if you have any concerns on how they may affect you)