The Everyday Habits That Are Damaging Your Spine2019-01-30T14:16:04+00:00

The Unknowingly Dangerous Activities You’re Doing Everyday That Are Damaging Your Spine

Let me share with you the 3 keys to GET healthy and STAY healthy…

So let’s dive into a pivotal piece of the 3 keys.

These unknowingly dangerous activities that you’re doing usually fall into 2 categories:

In some instances you’re aware that what you’re doing maybe unhealthy but…

You don’t think it’s that big of a deal – well it is.

Because small things add up over time to BIG problems.

However, in most cases you’re totally unaware that what you’re doing is detrimental, damaging and dangerous to your spine…

And that is what this page is all about.

Empowering you with the tools to look after your spine and your body – because you only get one of them and it has to last a lifetime!

Below you’ll find awesome videos on:

  • Neck Pain – 5 Things To STOP Doing To Help Your Neck Pain

  • Better Posture “Hack” – A simple solution to fix the habit of bad posture

  • Lower Back & Hip Pain – 7 Things to STOP Doing To Help Lower Back & Hip Pain

  • The Truth About “Slipped Disc”, Sciatica Pain & Pinched Nerves – Everything you need to know about back pain

  • How To Lift “light” Things Properly – The golfers lift

  • How To Lift Heavier Things Properly – Meet the hip hinge

  • How To Get Off The Chiropractic Table Without Killing Your Lower Back – How NOT to undo the wonders of the Chiropractic Adjustment

5 Things To STOP Doing To Help Your Neck Pain

  • The secrets of workstation setup
  • How to properly hold your mobile phone so you don’t end up like the “question mark little old ladies” in the shopping mall
  • Best pillow for neck pain sufferers
  • Side, back or stomach sleeping position – which is best for neck pain

It’s all in the video below…

Hey, it’s Dr. Leevi, your chiropractor from Wises Road Chiropractic. Really excited to be sharing this training with you. Five things you can stop doing to help your neck pain.

To kick things off, when we think about spinal health, about neck health, it’s really important to think about a neutral spine. So, what is a neutral spine? Up on the screen you’ll see a picture of a gentleman facing to the left. And you’ll see the spine has three natural weight-bearing curves. These are the normal natural curves of the spine that are meant to be there to keep it healthy. You’ll see we’ve got a forward curve in the lower back, a forward curve in the neck, and a reversed curve through the mid back. Now, all you need to think about is in your daily activities, the things that you do on a daily, weekly basis, neutral spine is the way to go. And you can’t go wrong by keeping the spine in a neutral spine position.

Now, the first key to change is awareness. Initially, you may not be even aware of your bad posture. So, we are gonna start to change that. Now, I’ve previously done a video on this using my balloon technique. And I’ll put the video down below this one so you can check it out. But that video involves a technique to help correct our posture and bring us back to a neutral spine, and it’s really easy. We just want to start setting some reminders. Set triggers on your phone, triggers on Post-it notes at your workstation to remind you, ‘where is my balloon?’ We are bringing this awareness of better posture into our consciousness. That is the first key to change. And over time you will build the habits of better posture.

Now, one of the other key things is desk posture, so for all my desk-bound patients. We know that workstation ergonomics are super important. Get your monitor up so your neck can be at a neutral position. And then make sure all your other joints, like the elbow and the hips are also at neutral positions. You don’t have to worry about fancy ergonomic chairs that look like you’re gonna launch to the moon, or you’re in a space shuttle, or something like that. Don’t waste your money on those, all right, they’re very unnecessary. Ideally, what you want is you want a chair that obviously is flat on the bottom. Without armrests is a really good starting point because without armrests allows you to move your chair closer to your workstation, which is very, very important so you can keep a nice neutral posture, and you’re not overextending yourself to your keyboard or your desk. So, no armrests are the way to go.

The other thing, to be honest, all that fancy back support, and all those types of things, you don’t really use them. You really want to think about supporting your own spine. You want to actively be using your muscles to help support you. So, honestly, the picture of the guy up on the screen, the way he’s sitting away from the back support, and he’s actively using his own muscles to support him, that’s probably the best way that you should be going with your desk posture. There’s a whole range of chairs that can do that. You can just get a simple stool. You’ll see me in office at the clinic. I just have a simple stool that doesn’t have a back. And it requires my postural muscles to keep me upright. We know that standing desks are getting very popular now. There’s many, many versions now, and they’re becoming more and more affordable. You’ve got the ones that go on top of desks that can help you do that. You’ve also got the ones that the whole workstation is going to become a standing station. Those are really, really good options.

The other thing that’s really important to understand is with the best ergonomics in the world, if you have the best setup, you still must be regular with your breaks from that workstation, research is saying every 20 to 30 minutes. So we must change that static posture and unload that neck. One of the other key things when we talk about posture are thing like laptops and tablets. Now, these are great for a quick amount of time. They are not meant to be doing long amounts of work on. The posture of a laptop is a classic caveman posture. It’s the exact opposite of our neutral spine posture. So if you have a laptop, if you have a tablet, please get yourself a laptop or tablet stand, and a USB keyboard, and set up a proper workstation. And get your spine back in a neutral position. You can see here there’s a big difference with that laptop being raised up like that.

Now, laptop stands, there’s many different ones readily available. I recommend Officeworks or eBay. You can also get USB keyboards and mouse at both of those places. On the cheap, you can just use a set of books, empty boxes, anything like that to raise your laptop up. One of the other things that I used to do when I was studying a lot from textbooks was I used to use a recipe stand holder. You can use this for your documents. You can use this if you’ve got, you know, kids that are studying books, if you’re having to look at books a lot for work. Something to take the documents of the table, so you’re not always glancing down and putting stress on the neck. You’re bringing them more to a neutral eye level. That way you’re just glancing from your monitor to the book or the source of text that you need to have a look at. I found that tip really, really helpful for me when I was studying a lot from textbooks.

Moving on, number three. Hey, as a bit of a carry on, we are spending a lot of time on digital devices. There’s no two ways about it, we are glued to our phones. So very important to understand, once again, neutral posture, really, really easy. Standing or seated, think about getting your neck in a neutral posture when you’re on your mobile device. A really easy way to do that is the gentleman on the screen there has supporting the elbow. That’s probably one of the easiest best ways to do. You can do that seated or standing. But it’s such a simple thing to do, and it’s so important. Like this is something, mobile phones aren’t going anywhere. And you’re probably not gonna be spending less time on them anytime soon. So this is something that you’re doing every day every week. And it’s a simple thing to do, but it’s also really easy not to do. If you can start breaking this habit and making a change in this imagine the impact it’s going to have day after day, week after week. That is going to really add up with an effect on your neck health.

One of the other things that we talk about for neck posture tip number four is our sleeping posture. Many a chronic neck pain patient that I have seen when I’ve asked about their sleeping postures tells me they are a stomach sleeper. No good can come from sleeping on your stomach. When we talk about neutral spine look at the posture we are in with stomach sleeping, it’s atrocious. We’ve got full rotation of the head. Then we’re laying the whole body weight on that for like seven to nine hours when we sleep. So the best sleeping postures, side sleeping and back sleeping are the best postures for the neck and the back in general. Now, transitioning from a stomach sleeper to a side or back sleeper is gonna be a habit that you need to break. Like with any habit it’s just going to take some time.

Now, I’d recommend that one of the best ways to do this is to do my golf ball in the pocket trick. Get a sleeping shirt that has a front pocket. In that front pocket put in a tennis ball or a golf ball. And then tape the front pocket shut. Now, what will happen is every time you roll over onto your stomach to sleep the golf ball or tennis ball will be very uncomfortable, and will wake you up, and let you know that that is a position that you should not be in. Once again, this is a handy little trick to help break the habit. It is something that is going to take some time. Like with any habit it will take some time. But persistence over a period of time is how you will change that habit. And in the long run your neck and your body will thank you so much for it. When we talk about that, also, as a carryon, last tip to round things out is pillow.

Once again, a calling card, or patients with chronic neck pain are the amounts of pillows that they have tried. Now, it’s a combination of things. When your neck has fixations, when your neck has subluxations, and nerve irritation in it, basically any pillow is gonna feel very uncomfortable. And you’re not gonna be able to find the right one. But once we start working on your neck with the chiropractic work in clinic you want the proper pillow to support yourself when you’re outside of clinic. So you’re reducing the stress you’re putting on the neck and not undoing all the good work that we’re doing in clinic. Once again, principle of neutral spine. A contoured pillow is the way to go. A contoured pillow for side sleeping and back sleeping will help support the natural curve of the neck and keep the neck in a neutral spine.

People always ask me, do I have a recommendation, yes I do. Dentons is the contoured pillow that I recommend. Readily available at Myers in Maroochydore. I’d recommend you go there and you try out all the Denton pillows that are contoured and they’re in plastic. And find the one that fits you. Find the right profile size for you. Now, initially, when transitioning to a contoured pillow it’s not something that I recommend just totally swapping in and out your old pillow for the new one. I recommend keeping your old pillow nearby, and slowly transition. Trying to sleep more and more on the contoured pillow, and work it in like that. It will take some time, but in the long run trust me, it will be of major benefit to you. My contoured pillow, such a valued companion for me, goes with me everywhere. I stuff it, fit it in my suitcase. I leave items out of my travel to make sure that I can actually take my pillow with me. And my pillow has racked up many frequent flyer points around the world because it is that important to me to getting a good night sleep and keeping my neck nice and healthy. So, there you have it.

Proper Posture

Could Your Posture Predict Health Issues?

Let me share with you some very interesting research about posture and it’s relationship to key health areas such as death (probably want to avoid that one)

PLUS – One Easy “Balloon Trick” To Improve Your Posture

Hey, in this short video, I’m going to share with you some really scary research about posture, and how it relates to your health. And, also talk about an important feedback loop between posture and our emotions, plus I’m going to share with you my simple trigger tip, so you can have better posture, stand taller, and be healthier.

Hey, it’s Dr Leevi from Wises Road Chiropractic. So, what is proper posture? Proper posture, just think about a nice, neutral spine. So, neutral spine, when we talk about the upper body, is that, from the side, your ear hole should be above your shoulder. So if you look at me from the side, a nice, proper, neutral posture should be like this, with the ear falling directly below the shoulder.

Unfortunately what we commonly see a lot now in society, with time spent on mobile devices, desk work, and our sedentary lifestyle, is people are losing the battle with gravity, and they end up in that hunched, sort of question mark position. So it’s really common, instead of the ear being over the shoulder, we start to see that head drift forward and then the upper back start to round. And we get in that very round chested type of posture, that round shoulder type of posture.

That is not the posture that we want to be in. In fact, that increased curve, through the mid-back, that rounding through the mid-back, has actually been related to an early predictor of mortality. In other words, poor posture has been shown to correlate to an earlier death rate. So, really scary stuff.

Poor posture has also been shown to have;

  • an increased rate of fractures – chance of fractures
  • poor performance,
  • a lower quality of life and performance.

When we talk about posture, from an emotional standpoint, there are so many things that we can talk about, but you yourself would know, there’s such an intimate relationship between our mind, and the body. And, the body talking back to the mind. Really easy, when you think about things, and when people are trying to act like a depressed person, or a sad person, what type of posture are they going to adopt? They are going to adopt that forward hunch type of posture. And this is my depressed posture, my unhappy posture. It’s also my stress posture. So when we think back in the day, when we get in that accelerator mode, that fight-or-flight stress response, we’re in that protective posture aren’t we, because we’re going to run, or we’re going to be prepared for a fight. So we shut down, and we protect ourselves.

So, really important to understand, your brain is feeding back to your body to control it, but, the body also feeds to the brain. So, if we are hanging out in that poor posture a lot, the messages that body is sending the brain, “I’m stressed. “I’m uncomfortable. “I’m in the fight-or-flight response. “I’m not happy.” “I’m not positive.” So, we see a very intimate relationship between body and the brain, and that’s another reason why posture is so important.

So, what can we do about this?…

Along with getting adjusted with your chiropractic, and the the active exercises that I’ve been giving you, here’s my simple posture trigger tip that I want to share with you. So you can use this any time throughout the day, just to help trigger your mind to get back in proper, normal posture. Really easy.

I call it the, “Where’s my balloon” trigger. All you need to think about it is, think about a balloon, coming from the top of your chest, and the balloon goes up to the ceiling. And, it pulls your chest up to the ceiling. That’s all you need to think about. So, when we are feeling like we’re losing the battle with gravity, like that. You think about, you say to yourself, “Where’s my balloon? “Where’s my balloon.” And the balloon, going up to the ceiling, like that.

Now, that’s a really simple trigger that you can start using on a daily basis, just to bring your awareness to your posture.

Thanks again for watching. And if you know someone who could benefit from better posture, please share this video on your timeline, you never know who you could help out.

Thanks again for watching, and I’ll speak to you soon.

7 Things to STOP Doing To Help Your Lower Back & Hip Pain

If you’re like most of the people I talk to you are probably making 5 out of 7 of these mistakes… trust me.

Watch the video so you can stop damaging your spine…

Hey, it’s Dr. Leevi, your chiropractor here and I’m really excited to be sharing this training with you where I’m going to go through the seven habits that people unknowingly do that are damaging their lower back and pelvis.

So let’s kick things off. Firstly, just to orientate ourselves. When we talk about lower back pain which is sometimes referred to as lumbar pain, typically you’ll just want to think about this as pain above the belt area. So you can see that diagram on the left there, the lumbar pain. And when we talk about pelvic girdle pain or patient’s commonly refer to it as hip pain, I just call it pelvis pain, we talk about the area below the belt. So those two glute cheeks or butt cheeks showing in that picture on the right hand side. This training specifically is for both these areas so if you are having pain in either one of these areas or both these areas, then this training is highly applicable to you. Now, another way to orientate ourselves is to look at a neutral spine. This is a really simple filter that you can run through all your daily habits, exercises, structures, et cetera and you can just think, if I am not keeping my lower back or my spine in general in a neutral position, then this probably isn’t a good thing to do.

So, up on the screen you’ll see a picture of a neutral spine. The gentleman is facing to the left. We see that there are naturally three curves in the spine, these are the normal, natural weight bearing curves. It is in your best interest to keep these curves in the spine. These are the proper shock absorbing curves and they’re the proper position the spine should be in. So, with the gentleman facing to the left you’ll see two forward curves, a forward curve in the neck, a forward curve in the lower back. In the mid-back, you’ll see a reverse curve. So the normal, natural weight bearing curves of the spine. And when I talk about neutral spine, this is what I’m referring to.

So, let’s kick things off. Habit number one. One of the most common issues I see with females and their pelvic pain and lower back pain is sitting cross legged. Many females will do this with me in their initial consult and even their report visit. Hey, I know there’s a lot of social etiquette that goes with it and there’s a lot of habit building that goes with this too. If you are struggling with lower back and pelvic pain I recommend that you start being aware of your sitting posture like this. Sitting cross legged will open up the pelvis and then you start to load that pelvis and that is where you start stretching ligaments and losing stability and causing a lot of discomfort. When we talk about neutral spine you can see it’s not a very neutral spine position, it’s a very awkward and twisted position and very open. So, start changing that habit.

A little bonus to build on that, one great tip for female patients if you are struggling with pelvic pain, hip pain, a pillow between the leg, the knees to the ankles when side-sleeping. This will help keep the pelvis nice and neutral. It’s not so applicable to males, just because anatomically the pelvis is slightly different in females and males due to the birthing process. So females tend to have a wider hip angle and the pillow between the legs will keep things in a more neutral position.

Now, second tip when we get to things, we start talking about sitting in general. Now, important to understand, in between the bones of your spine are the discs. These are fluid-filled discs that are the normal shock absorbers for the spine. You’ll see the picture there up on the screen, the blue things are the discs and the bones are between the discs. Now really important to understand, the latest research is saying, you must get up and move every 20 minutes when you are sitting.

It’s important to note, the discs of the spine have a very poor blood flow. The discs of the spine have very poor fluid exchange. That area depends on movement for fluid exchange and blood flow to keep that area healthy, you must get up and move. This is also done within the framework of having great ergonomics. Got to have your good workstation setup. If you’re struggling with that, you want to watch the video above on the neck habits, but even within the best ergonomic setup, research is saying you must get up and move every 20 minutes. So set your alarm, set a timer, have a screen app or something going on to let you know that you need to get up and move from your workstation every 20 minutes. If you don’t set a timer or anything like that, time will fly and before you know you’ve been sitting.

Tip number four is stop doing silly stretches. And I understand a lot of times when we are in pain and discomfort there are areas of the lower back, muscles of the legs that are tight. They are tight for a reason. They are tight because your nerves are irritated and because your body is in a protection mode. The work we are doing in clinic, unwinding your nervous system, getting your joints settling, moving better, getting your nervous system working better, is working on releasing those muscles.

I will include two videos below where I go into more detail about the anatomy of the lower back and why you shouldn’t do these silly stretches and exercises. But in short, you really just have to understand, I’ve got up on the screen a picture. If you saw somebody picking up a box like this, we know that this isn’t the correct way to pickup. we don’t round the back and we don’t do those types of things to the back when we’re lifting stuff. Yet in the same breath, we then say, hey it’s okay to do stretches like that. It doesn’t make any sense. If it’s not good to round your back to lift things, why is it any good to round your back and stretch out that area. The thing is, it’s not. And research has shown time and time again, these types of movements are not good for the lower back. The lower back is about stability, and you can’t go and keep doing these, what we call flexion movements, any movements where you are bringing the chest closer to the tops of the legs.

These are not good movements for the lower back. Now, a lot of patients will say to me, “Hey, you know what I did some stretches and I felt a little bit of relief.” That’s great, in the short term. In the long term you are doing more damage than good. What gives you a little bit of relief in the short term is actually causing more and more damage. I can’t tell you the amount of patients who have made dramatic improvements in, when I’ve told them to stop. Two things that are the most dangerous for the lower back are flexion, so forward bending, like I was mentioning on the previous picture, when any time the chest comes closer to the upper thigh. So forward bending, or flexion. And rotation. These are the two worst movements and research has time and time again shown that to be the case. So, once again, don’t do them, just take them out of your routine if you’ve been doing them. Trust me, in the long run, you will feel so much better. Whatever has been giving you short term relief really falls into the category.

Last up, one of the other extreme movements we have is extension of the lower back. Now when we think about keeping a neutral spine, this is going way beyond a neutral spine. We’ve got an area, now we are just jamming joints, we are just crushing joints of the lower back in this extreme extension. This is referred to as hyper-extension, too much extension.

So, to sum things up, when we’re talking about silly stretches for the lower back, flexion, rotation and extension, they are a no-no. Like we said when we opened up this habits video the lower back should be kept in a neutral position.

Now, building on from silly stretches, we’ve got silly exercises. Now, for some bizarre reason, everybody always thinks that they can out-exercise the pain in their lower back. This is simply not the case. I think it’s a myth born out of physiotherapists or something like that, thinking that you can exercise areas of pain to make them better.

The research has shown you can’t do this and you’re not supposed to. So when we talk about exercises for the back, the two biggest mistakes that I see with it are number one, inappropriate, silly, dangerous exercises. Number two, exercises at the wrong time.

So, let’s cover number one first. Number one, silly and inappropriate exercises. Have a look at the picture on the bottom where the person is doing a crunch and they’re in that complete crunch position. That is not a neutral spine. That is the spine, once again, in flexion, with the chest coming closer to the upper thighs. Think about your lower back like a paper clip. You have only so many bends in it until it’s going to break. Do not waste them on silly exercises like this. When it is appropriate, I will go through the correct exercises for you. But if you’ve been doing silly exercises like this, please stop it, it’s in your best interests to do so.

It’s important to understand the role of the core. The core muscles of your lower back, their job is not to create movement, their job is to resist movement. Think about it. Anytime you are doing anything, when you go to get out of your car, when you go to lift something, when you’re reaching for something, when you’re walking around everyday. Your core is constantly working to resist gravity and make sure that your body doesn’t fall out of alignment. When you go and you pick something up that’s heavy, your core is bracing to make sure you don’t collapse and fall apart. It is not creating movement. Unfortunately, a large myth and one of the biggest mistakes with core training in the last 20, 30 years has been this idea the core creates movement. And that’s why we have gone down this path of things like sit-ups and crunches and leg-raises and all those silly exercises, creating movement. The core is about stability and I want you to start thinking about it as an anti-movement, anti-rotation. That is the job of the core.

So exercises should involve anti-movement and anti-rotation and building up holding a neutral spine against forces that we put on the body. So, more about that later and that brings us onto the second point. Doing exercises when they are appropriate. A lot of times people are in pain, people are in discomfort and they are thinking they need to strengthen muscles to get their body healthy. It’s simply not the case.

That is the same logic, imagine if you sprained your ankle. You rolled your ankle very badly. You may have done this when you were younger playing sports or something like that, you may have had a friend that’s done it. You sprained that ankle, you rolled it badly. There’s pain, there’s swelling, there’s inflammation. Now, would it be smart to say to someone who’s got a swollen, sore ankle like that, “Hey you know what, “I think that you should just go practice walking. “Why don’t you just practice walking on that sore ankle “so you can practice walking and build up your strength “again so you learn how to walk properly.” It sounds ridiculous when you say it like that. You would say to someone if they had an ankle like that it’s probably best to keep off it. This is exactly the same scenario that’s happening in many people’s lower backs. You’ve got pain, you’ve got swelling, you’ve damaged muscles, ligaments, tissues and tendons.

Building on from that, tip number six is about lifting technique. I want to introduce you to two lifts that you can start putting into your daily, everyday living. Number one, the golfer’s lift. A really handy way for light lifts. So picking things light that are off the floor, is the golfer’s lift. You can see it’s got the ability to keep the spine in a more neutral position, so the spine goes out of that flexion because it’s a one-legged type of lift. You can see the picture up on the screen now. The common lift that people would do with both legs planted on the ground and flexing the spine. And if we use the golfer’s lift we keep one leg on the ground and one leg goes out behind us. This unloads the spine from that dangerous flexion position and it takes a lot of the stress off the spine so we are not causing that paperclip bending in the spine. So the golfer’s lift is a great one to work into your daily routine.

Along with that, we all know proper lifting technique. The picture now up on the screen, we know that that stoop lifting on the right hand side is not what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to do more of a leg bend and keeping the back flat. What I want to introduce you to is something called the hip hinge. So this is where we are driving more with the powerful hip muscles and instead of using the knees so much and loading up the legs we use the really powerful hip muscles. It’s a really powerful anchor that we can use to lift things up. What I’m going to do is, I’ve got a link to a video below this by the world expert on lower back health and he’s gonna take you through the golfer’s lift and the hip hinge, so you can learn those two.

Rounding out our seven bad habits. Now, I know this one is a little bit of a bummer ’cause we’ve got so many nice beaches on the sunshine coast. I wanna get you back to those beaches, but while your body is healing, walking on the beach is not the best thing for a back that is in pain and discomfort and not functioning well. Many a patient has come to me far worse for wear after walking on the beach. That unstable surface and that repetitively unstable action has just overloaded their system too much and put them in pain and discomfort. To be mindful, no beach walking when you’ve got a bad lower back or pelvis. No walking in your thongs or flip-flops because they’re going to change the mechanics of proper walking.

The best activity you can do, when we talk about exercises and people ask me, hey what exercises can I do and everything like that, is brisk walking. Walking within your pain free limits at a slightly faster pace than you would normally walk. Research has shown that this normal, natural activity done slightly faster, so at a brisk pace, will activate all the muscles that you need and it’s done in a normal, natural way. What more natural movement could you get than walking. It’s a great way to start retraining the muscles in this habit builder series, because I understand that it does go against a lot of the information that you’ve been hearing out there. But that is part of my job is to help educate you. It is your health, it is your body and I want you to be empowered and understand it, so please check out the resources down below. That finishes off our video on the seven common things that impair lower back and pelvic health. Thanks again for watching and I’ll speak to you soon.

Everything You Need To Know About Lower Back Health

Let’s cut through the myths and misinformation regarding back pain as I reveal:

  • Can discs really slip? Can they cause pain and if so how?

  • How do you get problems like sciatica and pinched nerves and how best to treat them?

  • How to decrease your chance of back surgery by 42% (it’s easier than you think)

  • The best exercise to do when you have back pain (hint: it’s NOT about strengthening your core)

– Hey, it’s Dr. Leevi, your chiropractor here and I’m really excited to be sharing this training with you where I’m going to go through the seven habits that people unknowingly do that are damaging their lower back and pelvis. So let’s kick things off.

Firstly, just to orientate ourselves. When we talk about lower back pain which is sometimes referred to as lumbar pain, typically you’ll just want to think about this as pain above the belt area. So you can see that diagram on the left there, the lumbar pain. And when we talk about pelvic girdle pain or patient’s commonly refer to it as hip pain, I just call it pelvis pain, we talk about the area below the belt. So those two glute cheeks or butt cheeks showing in that picture on the right hand side. This training specifically is for both these areas so if you are having pain in either one of these areas or both these areas, then this training is highly applicable to you. Now, another way to orientate ourselves is to look at a neutral spine. This is a really simple filter that you can run through all your daily habits, exercises, structures, et cetera and you can just think, if I am not keeping my lower back or my spine in general in a neutral position, then this probably isn’t a good thing to do. So, up on the screen you’ll see a picture of a neutral spine. The gentleman is facing to the left. We see that there are naturally three curves in the spine, these are the normal, natural weight bearing curves. It is in your best interest to keep these curves in the spine. These are the proper shock absorbing curves and they’re the proper position the spine should be in. So, with the gentleman facing to the left you’ll see two forward curves, a forward curve in the neck, a forward curve in the lower back. In the mid-back, you’ll see a reverse curve. So the normal, natural weightbearing curves of the spine. And when I talk about neutral spine, this is what I’m referring to. So, let’s kick things off.

Habit number one. One of the most common issues I see with females and their pelvic pain and lower back pain is sitting cross legged. Many females will do this with me in their initial consult and even their report visit. Hey, I know there’s a lot of social etiquette that goes with it and there’s a lot of habit building that goes with this too. If you are struggling with lower back and pelvic pain I recommend that you start being aware of your sitting posture like this. Sitting cross legged will open up the pelvis and then you start to load that pelvis and that is where you start stretching ligaments and losing stability and causing a lot of discomfort. When we talk about neutral spine you can see it’s not a very neutral spine position, it’s a very awkward and twisted position and very open. So, start changing that habit. A little bonus to build on that, one great tip for female patients if you are struggling with pelvic pain, hip pain, a pillow between the leg, the knees to the ankles when side-sleeping. This will help keep the pelvis nice and neutral. It’s not so applicable to males, just because anatomically the pelvis is slightly different in females and males due to the birthing process. So females tend to have a wider hip angle and the pillow between the legs will keep things in a more neutral position.

Now, second tip when we get to things, we start talking about sitting in general. Now, important to understand, in between the bones of your spine are the discs. These are fluid-filled discs that are the normal shock absorbers for the spine. You’ll see the picture there up on the screen, the blue things are the discs and the bones are between the discs. Now really important to understand, the latest research is saying, you must get up and move every 20 minutes when you are sitting. It’s important to note, the discs of the spine have a very poor blood flow. The discs of the spine have very poor fluid exchange. That area depends on movement for fluid exchange and blood flow to keep that area healthy, you must get up and move. This is also done within the framework of having great ergonomics. Got to have your good workstation setup. If you’re struggling with that, you want to watch the video above on the neck habits, but even within the best ergonomic setup, research is saying you must get up and move every 20 minutes. So set your alarm, set a timer, have a screen app or something going on to let you know that you need to get up and move from your workstation every 20 minutes. If you don’t set a timer or anything like that, time will fly and before you know you’ve been sitting. Tip number four is stop doing silly stretches. And I understand a lot of times when we are in pain and discomfort there are areas of the lower back, muscles of the legs that are tight. They are tight for a reason. They are tight because your nerves are irritated and because your body is in a protection mode. The work we are doing in clinic, unwinding your that nervous system, getting your joints settling, moving better, getting your nervous system working better, is working on releasing those muscles. I will include two videos below where I go into more detail about the anatomy of the lower back and why you shouldn’t do these silly stretches and exercises. But in short, you really just have to understand, I’ve got up on the screen a picture. If you saw somebody picking up a box like this, we know that this isn’t the correct way to pickup. we don’t round the back and we don’t do those types of things to the back when we’re lifting stuff. Yet in the same breath, we then say, hey it’s okay to do stretches like that. It doesn’t make any sense. If it’s not good to round your back to lift things, why is it any good to round your back and stretch out that area. The thing is, it’s not. And research has shown time and time again, these types of movements are not good for the lower back. The lower back is about stability, and you can’t go and keep doing these, what we call flexion movements, any movements where you are bringing the chest closer to the tops of the legs. These are not good movements for the lower back. Now, a lot of patients will say to me, “Hey, you know what I did some stretches and I felt a little bit of relief.” That’s great, in the short term. In the long term you are doing more damage than good. What gives you a little bit of relief in the short term is actually causing more and more damage. I can’t tell you the amount of patients who have made dramatic improvements in, when I’ve told them to stop. Two things that are the most dangerous for the lower back are flexion, so forward bending, like I was mentioning on the previous picture, when any time the chest comes closer to the upper thigh. So forward bending, or flexion. And rotation. These are the two worst movements and research has time and time again shown that to be the case. So, once again, don’t do them, just take them out of your routine if you’ve been doing them. Trust me, in the long run, you will feel so much better. Whatever has been giving you short term relief really falls into the category.

Last up, one of the other extreme movements we have is extension of the lower back. Now when we think about keeping a neutral spine, this is going way beyond a neutral spine. We’ve got an area, now we are just jamming joints, we are just crushing joints of the lower back in this extreme extension. This is referred to as hyper-extension, too much extension. So, to sum things up, when we’re talking about silly stretches for the lower back, flexion, rotation and extension, they are a no-no. Like we said when we opened up this habits video the lower back should be kept in a neutral position.

Now, building on from silly stretches, we’ve got silly exercises. Now, for some bizarre reason, everybody always thinks that they can out-exercise the pain in their lower back. This is simply not the case. I think it’s a myth born out of physiotherapists or something like that, thinking that you can exercise areas of pain to make them better. The research has shown you can’t do this and you’re not supposed to. So when we talk about exercises for the back, the two biggest mistakes that I see with it are number one, inappropriate, silly, dangerous exercises. Number two, exercises at the wrong time. So, let’s cover number one first. Number one, silly and inappropriate exercises. Have a look at the picture on the bottom where the person is doing a crunch and they’re in that complete crunch position. That is not a neutral spine. That is the spine, once again, in flexion, with the chest coming closer to the upper thighs. Think about your lower back like a paper clip. You have only so many bends in it until it’s going to break. Do not waste them on silly exercises like this. When it is appropriate, I will go through the correct exercises for you. But if you’ve been doing silly exercises like this, please stop it, it’s in your best interests to do so. It’s important to understand the role of the core. The core muscles of your lower back, their job is not to create movement, their job is to resist movement. Think about it. Anytime you are doing anything, when you go to get out of your car, when you go to lift something, when you’re reaching for something, when you’re walking around everyday. Your core is constantly working to resist gravity and make sure that your body doesn’t fall out of alignment. When you go and you pick something up that’s heavy, your core is bracing to make sure you don’t collapse and fall apart. It is not creating movement. Unfortunately, a large myth and one of the biggest mistakes with core training in the last 20, 30 years has been this idea the core creates movement. And that’s why we have gone down this path of things like sit-ups and crunches and leg-raises and all those silly exercises, creating movement. The core is about stability and I want you to start thinking about it as an anti-movement, anti-rotation. That is the job of the core. So exercises should involve anti-movement and anti-rotation and building up holding a neutral spine against forces that we put on the body. So, more about that later and that brings us onto the second point. Doing exercises when they are appropriate. A lot of times people are in pain, people are in discomfort and they are thinking they need to strengthen muscles to get their body healthy. It’s simply not the case. That is the same logic, imagine if you sprained your ankle. You rolled your ankle very badly. You may have done this when you were younger playing sports or something like that, you may have had a friend that’s done it. You sprained that ankle, you rolled it badly. There’s pain, there’s swelling, there’s inflammation. Now, would it be smart to say to someone who’s got a swollen, sore ankle like that, “Hey you know what, “I think that you should just go practice walking. “Why don’t you just practice walking on that sore ankle “so you can practice walking and build up your strength “again so you learn how to walk properly.” It sounds ridiculous when you say it like that. You would say to someone if they had an ankle like that it’s probably best to keep off it. This is exactly the same scenario that’s happening in many people’s lower backs. You’ve got pain, you’ve got swelling, you’ve damaged muscles, ligaments, tissues and tendons.

Building on from that, tip number six is about lifting technique. I want to introduce you to two lifts that you can start putting into your daily, everyday living. Number one, the golfer’s lift. A really handy way for light lifts. So picking things light that are off the floor, is the golfer’s lift. You can see it’s got the ability to keep the spine in a more neutral position, so the spine goes out of that flexion because it’s a one-legged type of lift. You can see the picture up on the screen now. The common lift that people would do with both legs planted on the ground and flexing the spine. And if we use the golfer’s lift we keep one leg on the ground and one leg goes out behind us. This unloads the spine from that dangerous flexion position and it takes a lot of the stress off the spine so we are not causing that paperclip bending in the spine. So the golfer’s lift is a great one to work into your daily routine. Along with that, we all know proper lifting technique. The picture now up on the screen, we know that that stoop lifting on the right hand side is not what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to do more of a leg bend and keeping the back flat. What I want to introduce you to is something called the hip hinge. So this is where we are driving more with the powerful hip muscles and instead of using the knees so much and loading up the legs we use the really powerful hip muscles. It’s a really powerful anchor that we can use to lift things up. What I’m going to do is, I’ve got a link to a video below this by the world expert on lower back health and he’s gonna take you through the golfer’s lift and the hip hinge, so you can learn those two.

Rounding out our seven bad habits. Now, I know this one is a little bit of a bummer ’cause we’ve got so many nice beaches on the sunshine coast. I wanna get you back to those beaches, but while your body is healing, walking on the beach is not the best thing for a back that is in pain and discomfort and not functioning well. Many a patient has come to me far worse for wear after walking on the beach. That unstable surface and that repetitively unstable action has just overloaded their system too much and put them in pain and discomfort. To be mindful, no beach walking when you’ve got a bad lower back or pelvis. No walking in your thongs or flip-flops because they’re going to change the mechanics of proper walking. The best activity you can do, when we talk about exercises and people ask me, hey what exercises can I do and everything like that, is brisk walking. Walking within your pain free limits at a slightly faster pace than you would normally walk. Research has shown that this normal, natural activity done slightly faster, so at a brisk pace, will activate all the muscles that you need and it’s done in a normal, natural way. What more natural movement could you get than walking. It’s a great way to start retraining the muscles in this habit builder series, because I understand that it does go against a lot of the information that you’ve been hearing out there. But that is part of my job is to help educate you. It is your health, it is your body and I want you to be empowered and understand it, so please check out the resources down below. That finishes off our video on the seven common things that impair lower back and pelvic health.

Thanks again for watching and I’ll speak to you soon.

How To Lift Properly – Golfer’s Pickup For Lighter Objects

The lower back remains flat and by having one leg off the ground we dramatically reduce potentially dangerous tension and stretching on the joints, muscles and nerves of the lower back.

The golfer’s pick up in action below

How To Lift Properly – Hip Hinge For Heavier Objects

Not only will this save your back, it’s also way more powerful.

How To Get Off The Chiro Table Correctly

Let me demystify one of the BIGGEST mysteries…

How to correctly get off the chiro table.

Try it next time you get adjusted!