Adjust your morning routine with chiropractic wake-up tips to prevent back, joint and muscle pain.
It’s cold. It’s dark. The only way you can bring yourself to leave the warmth and comfort of the doona is to crawl or roll out of bed. Familiar? For many of us, winter means favouring ‘comfy’ over ‘healthy’. But often what feels good isn’t good for us. For instance, many feelgood morning wake-up practices can place undue stress on the spine. Whether you suffer from back pain or wish to prevent it, now is the perfect opportunity to implement spine-friendly morning (or, er, midday) habits.
Why wake-up technique matters
While you’re lying in bed, your muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones completely relax. It makes sense, then, that they need to be gently eased back into full operation rather than being ‘shocked’ or ‘jolted’ into fast-paced, coordinated movement.
Common wake-up mistakes
Mistake: Lying in bed until the last minute or setting your alarm for as late as possible encourage practices that can jolt your body (especially your back). One such behaviour is ‘throwing’ or ‘jumping’ your legs to the floor, which can come as a shock to your spine, forcing it to twist sharply and suddenly.
Fix it: When you’re ready to get up, first roll onto your side so you’re facing the side of the bed. Raise your knees with your feet still on the bed. Then use your hands to lift your upper body while sliding your feet towards the ground to reach a sitting position. Try to turn your whole body in a smooth, coordinated movement to keep the spine vertical and avoid twisting.
Mistake: Many of us automatically bend over the bathroom basin, especially when cleaning our teeth. This forces your unprepared back to bear the load of your upper body.
Fix it: Place your hands on the vanity, bench or wall to support your weight. When cleaning your teeth or grooming, try to remain upright.
Mistake: If you’re used to getting ready in a mad rush, you may have adopted time-saving habits such as bending at the hips to put on shoes and/or socks (worse if you tend to overbalance and ‘hop’ around).
Fix it: When putting on shoes and/or socks, consider placing each foot on a chair to reduce the distance you need to reach and help to support your body weight — relieving pressure on your back. Alternatively, sit down to put on shoes and socks. It may take a few extra seconds, but your body will thank you.
If you’re experiencing back pain or other pain or stiffness upon rising or throughout the day, consider consulting a chiropractor for a thorough assessment, appropriate manual treatments and recommendations for lifestyle modifications to prevent further pain and adverse spinal adaptations.