Dealing with pain and aren’t sure why? It could be caused by something common you do every day and didn’t realize was an issue. Here are some of the top offenders and how you can modify them to reduce strain and pain over time:
#1 Electronic Devices
Smartphones, computers, and even e-readers can be tough on the eyes, but they’re hard on posture, too.
Leaning forward towards a screen causes extension of the head and rounding of the shoulders, which can cause neck, shoulder, and spine trouble over time. Example: a recent study showed looking down at a cell phone adds 60 pounds of pressure to the spine!
How to help: Since most of us must use technology every day, the best we can do is be aware of our posture when we use it. Try to hold your smartphone higher in front of your face so you don’t have to round your neck, and elevate your computer where the screen is more directly in front of your eyes. Use a chair that helps support good posture too. Daily exercise and strength training can help improve posture, also.
On the one hand, carrying your grocery bags instead of using a cart can be good for building strength and staying active. However, an imbalance of too much weight can put pressure on your hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.
How to help: Try to even things out by carrying your bags in both hands and keeping the weight similar on each side.
#3 Purses and Bags
How much does your purse weigh? Women especially tend to throw random items into their bags without much of a thought—but that weight adds up and can really strain your shoulders and spine! The same can be said of briefcases, computer bags and backpacks.
How to help: Clean out bags regularly and just stick to the essentials to reduce the amount of weight you’re having to lug around. Try using a smaller purse or a rolling bag if you travel a lot.
Who knew money could literally be a pain in the buttocks? But it’s true: keeping a wallet in your back pocket can put pressure on the sciatic nerve of your leg, especially if you’re sitting a lot each day. This can lead to shooting pain down the leg on that side.
How to help: Make a habit of removing your wallet before sitting—or find another place for it altogether.
#5 Flat Shoes
Sandals, flip flops and other everyday shoes lack enough arch support. This can cause pain in the feet, ankles, knees or shin splints.
How to help: Wear shoes that contain arch support as much as possible, such as tennis shoes, especially if you’re active on your feet.
In a perfect world, we’d all be sleeping at least eight hours a night. That’s a significant chunk of time in our lives, and spending it on a mattress that’s too soft or too hard can lead to ongoing neck, shoulder or back pain.
How to help: If possible, invest in a better-quality mattress that’s right for your body (and be sure to test different types before buying!). Also, try different side or back sleeping positions, such as putting a pillow under or between your knees, and avoid sleeping on your stomach—that’s the worst sleeping position for back pain.
They’re cute, cuddly and a true blessing, but new parents (and their friends and family) should note: lifting babies from their cribs every day can cause a swelling of the thumbs and wrists (known as de Quervain’stenosynovitis).
How to help: Practice lifting your baby out of their bed with your hands under their back and buttocks. This helps you lift using your arm muscles more and reduces pressure on the wrists and hands.
Our bodies are precious, and awareness goes a long way in preventing stress and strain on the muscles, bones and joints. Taking a look at what we do day-to-day can help us uncover hidden sources of pain often caused by our modern environment.