1. Sleep on your back or your side NOT your tummy.
If you have lower back issues particularly with the discs it can be helpful to use an extra pillow or cushion between your knees if you are on your side or, if you are laying on your back you can bend your knees up and sleep with the extra cushion under your knees. This reduces the pressure on the discs of your lower back.
2. Use a correctly fitted pillow
Your pillow should help you maintain your spinal curves while at the same time keeping your spine in as neutral a position as possible.
3. Don't curl up too much with your head tucked in to your chest!
I know it has been cold but with the invention of hand held devices like phones, iPads and the likes many of us are looking down way too much. We are seeing a significantly increasing number of people (children and teenagers in particular) with reversed neck curves. If you can at least sleep with your neck in an optimised position, at least that is 8 hours (or should be 8 hours) of good neck posture each day.
1. Walk or at least move.
The discs in our spine require motion to get nourishment and get rid of waste. They rely on the pumping action produced by movements such as walking to keep healthy. If a disc does not get enough movement it will start to desiccate (dry out) and therefore wear down very fast.
Muscles and tendons respond best when regularly stretched as this not only optimises blood, oxygen and nutrient flow in and waste including carbon dioxide out but it also allows these organs to keep in contact with the brain. If you want strong pathways between your brain and your muscles so you have good balance later in life - move now.
4. Learn to manage stress
Stress can be fantastic for optimal human functioning however it is good in the short term only. Stress produces hormones that break down the body, cause inflammation, slow your digestion and reduce your brain's ability to reason and "think productively / clearly". Living in a state of chronic stress also depletes you of certain nutrients like Magnesium that are required for muscle and brain "relaxation". These hormones also make your body more acidic which adds into this negative cycle and further affects your brain, digestion, muscle tension and more. Deep breathing, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, yoga, mediation, journalling - take your pick just make sure to keep your stress levels down particularly before bed to allow your body to recover and heal from your day.
5. Be positive
Positive words have been shown to make plants grow better, water to form crystals with better structural integrity and even babies brains have been shown to grow better with positive words. Positive emotions produce hormones that lower your stress response, help muscle relaxation, improve bonding between people. I have seen and read too much to not believe strongly that people with positive attitudes can change their health and lives much faster than people with a negative outlook. Even finding just one thing to be grateful for - thank your body for allowing you to still breathe or that your body is still trying to help you by sending you messages (even if they are pain). I truly believe that your body responds well to you treating it with kindness and love.
Pain is not normal! It is you body's way of telling you something is not optimal. Sometimes it is not clear and takes a bit to decipher what your body is trying to tell you but pain doesn't just happen. Your body is super intelligent and it is not wasteful. If it is bothering to send messages of pain to your brain - it is asking you to stop and work out why.
Sometimes pain is straight forward - you sprained your ankle so you are getting pain messages. They are warning you not to use it or put too much weight on it to prevent further damage while it heals.
Sometimes pain is a little less predictable. Abdominal pain may be because you ate something your body did not like, it may be because you are anxious and that is how your body chooses to feel it for some reason, there may be something more sinister going on inside your abdomen. A bloating, nagging tummy ache is never normal. It may be nothing major but it is still telling you there is something your body would like you to take care of be it eliminating a certain food, eating more greens, learning how to destress or any number of other things.
Pain in your shoulder could be because you hurt it playing sport or overusing it, because you just had abdominal surgery and that can result in referred pain to your shoulder, your neck or shoulder may be subluxated, your gallbladder may be sending pain there because you have gallstones or you may have been sitting at a desk or computer too long and the muscles have become tired of that position and are suggesting you move before they start to become damaged even just at a microlevel.
The moral of this story is that your body is infinitely intelligent. If it is sending you pain messages - take the time to stop and listen to it and try to work out why. If you can't work it out - see your health care practitioner - GP, naturopath, chiropractor, myotherapist, psychologist etc and ask for help. Sometimes you just need a bit of help interpreting the messages and that is what we are here for.
Your joints are held in place by discs, tendons, ligaments and muscles as well as the shape of the bones involved. If a joint is taken to the end of it's range of motion too frequently there is potential you can overstretch these supporting ligaments and tendons making a joint loose. This can happen in situations where a person is stretching their neck or back as far as it will go so it will crack.
A gonstead chiropractor takes careful note of how far a joint is moving prior to adjusting it. One of the important factors we check for is that a joint has restricted motion before we will adjust it. We consider joints that are already moving too much to be compensating for other issues. Gonstead adjustments also aim to avoid taking a joint to the end of it's range of motion therefore limiting the stress it places on the supporting ligaments and tissues.
If you are being checked and adjusted by a gonstead chiropractor, you do not have to worry about damaging your spine from being adjusted too often - that is why we always check thoroughly before we adjust you. If however, you are manipulating your own spine, there is potential for you to overstretch the ligaments and tendons making them loose and unstable over time. Moral of the story - leave it to the professionals ;-)
Giving you my honest opinion on all things health related. Keeping it real and from the heart.