When things come up in the office I like to write about them. Not that this will end them being a topic of conversation but maybe it will give someone something to think about. Just this morning I had a gentleman come in, not quite in a straight position, saying his back had been hurting like this for about a month. First of all that is a long time to go around bent over in pain! But secondly, he said he thought he had “pulled a muscle”. That CAN happen, however, if it does not start to at least improve symptomatically in 3-5 days, it is probably something more. My experience ( 25 years as a practicing chiropractor) is that very few things happen with the body inside a bubble. Meaning, if you develop a biceps tendonitis from doing too many curls at the gym, you probably also have some elbow joint irritation as well. Or a more common issue is someone has some plantar facitis in their foot, which causes them to favor that side, so the opposite knee starts to swell and ache, and then miraculously the low back goes “out, for no reason!”. Basically everything is tied together in some form or fashion, and we need to start looking at the whole body, and how all of the systems work together, and not individual complaints. But back to my month long sufferer. So he has a low back muscle spasm, but that has been caused by an irritated low back nerve root, which is getting irritated because his low back joints, ( his spine) is not functioning properly. If I as a chiropractor help him with his low back joints, that is going to make his nerve root happy, which will help his low back muscle. Of course we want to also treat his low back spasm with muscle stim, ice, stretching, and a casual conversation about losing a little weight, and strengthening his core muscles. As I said, nothing happens in a bubble. I hope you have a wonderful day…. and don’t PULL A MUSCLE!!!
One of the questions that I am asked most often is “How should I sleep?” or better yet, “Do I need a new mattress?”. Mattresses are one of the more personal decisions that we face, as far as buying something that we are going to keep and use on a long term basis. My standard answer to these questions is first to go to the mattress stores and lie on as many mattresses that you can.
Everyone has their idea of what feels good or doesn’t. A little on the firm side is probably best on the spine, but the caveat to all of this is why I titled this post as “sleeping positions” You can buy a bed stuffed with golden feathers, but if you are sleeping with your spine in an awkward position, you have no hope of a restful sleep, and are setting yourself up for spine problems down the road.
So how do you sleep “in good posture”. First and foremost good posture standing up is good posture sleeping. Meaning your head is in a neutral position, your shoulders aren’t twisted to any great degree. And probably most common is you haven’t thrown one hip over the other, and have your lower back/hips in a twist. With that said, sleeping on your back is fine. Make sure the pillow is not too fluffy, or to flat, therefore keeping your head in a neutral position. Sleeping on your side is fine, just keep your head in that neutral position. Don’t tuck your chin, make sure the pillow doesn’t raise your head too high, or too low. Make it just right! Just like Goldie Locks! Sleeping on your stomach, honestly is for the devil. There is nothing good about it, your low back sags into a hyper lordotic curve, your neck is twisted in a joint straining position, that will surely cause you to come visit your friendly chiropractor sooner, rather than later!
I hope you have picked up a few tips from this post, if you have any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be glad to get back to you.
Have a great and healthy day!
Dr. Sam Messimer