Are you aware of your sleeping position?
Is the way your sleeping going to come back to haunt you in the future? Changing your sleeping position may be the solution to your back pain. The following blog entry focuses on what I tell my patients about their sleeping habits and how it can affect their back.
It is a well known statistic that 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their life and back pain is one of the most common health problems. Like any chiropractor, low back pain is one of the more common conditions that we see in our clinic. On your initial visit, a history is always taken and the one question I always ask to those patients presenting with back pain is ”what position do you sleep in?”. If your answer is “I sleep on my stomach” then that may be the cause of your pain. It’s amazing how many people sleep on their stomachs and enjoy sleeping on their stomachs, however, it is the one position that is not ideal for your low back and neck. In simple terms, the curve in you low back (lordosis) is crucial for proper balance, shock absorption, and strength. Sleeping on your stomach will in the long term reverse that curve, and in the short term put pressure on the posterior (back) portion of your spine and that’s where the pain receptors lie. If you are a stomach sleeper and experience back pain, sleep on your side or back and over time you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the difference it will make. If you do not have pain and sleep on your stomach, break the habit now, as it’s only a matter of time before you start to experience the negative affects.
Dr. G’s Tips:
• Whatever you do, do NOT sleep on your stomach. Sleep on your side or your back
• Use a pillow! If you are sleeping on your side put it between your knees. If you are on your back put in underneath your knees. This will ensure that muscles, joints, and nerves are not being stressed
• Use heat for 15 minutes at night before bed and this will help minimize common morning stiffness
• Use 1 medium sized, medium stiffness pillow for your neck. Using 2 pillows is a no-no and will create issues (the goal is that you maintain a neutral position of your neck- should not flexed(too far forward), extended(bent backward) or laterally flexed(leaning more to one side)
• Do not fall asleep on soft surfaces or awkward positions, which means NO sleeping on the couch!!
• If you are a stomach sleeper and are having difficulties changing the habit, here’s a tip that has worked with many of my patients: Take a sweatshirt with a front pouch or a pair of sweatpants with pockets in the front and put something hard (tennis ball etc) in the pouch/pockets, this will make it uncomfortable for you to sleep on your stomach
Well, it’s taken over 35 years, but I’ve finally made it to the blogosphere! I feel great and I am very excited about sharing my insights, thoughts, knowledge and experiences with you. I have many goals for the blog: I hope to inspire and motivate you to achieve a healthy lifestyle, to help you obtain a more fulfilling lifestyle, and maybe even be the one that gives you that extra push that can sometimes make the difference in overcoming obstacles and achieving your own personal goals. I will share health tips as it relates to diet, exercise, treatment/prevention of ailments and injuries, my general thoughts on life, and the things that interest me. Other members of my talented team will be chiming in every once in a while on this blog to share their thoughts and expertise around health and wellness. I think you’ll enjoy their insights on the topics they will choose to write about.
When I take a moment to reflect, I am proud of my accomplishments, not just because I am fortunate to help patients with their health on a daily basis, or because I work with some of the top professional athletes in the world, or because, I am surrounded by so many amazing people. Most important to me, is the adversity I overcame to get to where I am today. I dealt with an insurmountable life shattering loss at a very young age. Just over seven years ago, my beautiful wife Brenda lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 28 and full of love and life. That day my world, as I had known it, stopped.
A lot has happened since then and it’s hard to describe in words what I went through. Brenda taught me so much about love and living and showed me so many things that have allowed me today to be at peace with who I am and to be happy once again. Trust me when I say, the obstacles I had to deal with appeared to be insurmountable, but through some very powerful principles, continued perseverance, hope, faith, and belief, and with the love of others, I overcame them. The fortunate thing in life is that you don’t always have to go at it alone. In my case, I am extremely grateful to have found love again in the heart and soul of my fiancee Julie. She has taught me that the sun is always behind the clouds. You just have to believe it’s there and it will eventually break through.
Over time, in addition to the health and wellness tips I will share on this blog, I hope to use my personal experiences to inspire, support and help others help themselves and the people they care about. I do so as a tribute to my late wife. So whether it’s health, wellness, performance or the principles of life that allows you to succeed and make a difference, I hope my blog is something you look forward to reading and sharing with others. Let’s get started!
Are you drinking enough water?
It’s amazing how many of my patients, active or not, are not drinking enough water! The importance of drinking water and staying hydrated can’t be emphasized enough…
It is estimated that your body is made up of approximately 60% water. Your blood, muscles, lungs and brain all contain a lot of water. Water is needed to regulate your body temperature, help nutrients get to your organs, oxygen to your cells, remove waste from your body, protect your joints, help your immune system and improve your digestive system…do I need to say more?
Remember, you lose water through urination, respiration and by sweating.
So the more active you are the more you need to drink!
Dr. G’s Tips:
• Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning – it’s a great way to start the day and get a head start on hydration!
• Carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go
• Wait until your glass/bottle is empty before refilling; this can help you monitor your water intake
• Keep a bottle of water on your desk at work (it’s easy to forget to drink! Having a bottle on your desk will remind you to stay hydrated)
• When you drink is also important. If you’re going to practice, a game, or just working out or playing hard, drink water before, during, and after playing.
• If you are waiting till you’re thirsty to drink, you are waiting too long!!
• Where possible, substitute water for all other beverages… if flavour is an issue add lemon or cucumber to your water…hey they do it at spa’s so it must be good!
• Try to avoid drinks with sugar or sweetener as they contain additional calories and can cause other potential health hazards.
• Read the labels, know what you’re drinking, it will help you achieve your goals