Important Warnings and Suggestions for Protecting Spine Health in the Pandemic

Important warnings and recommendations to protect spine health in the pandemic
Important warnings and recommendations to protect spine health in the pandemic

prof. Dr. Ahmet Alanay, in his statement within the scope of Scoliosis Awareness Month in June, made important warnings and suggestions to protect the spine health in our society during the pandemic.

Today, the average adult spends 9 hours a day sitting! This situation increases the frequency of diabetes and heart diseases and also harms your spine because while you are standing, the load of your body is shared by your legs, while when you sit, all the load is transferred to the pelvis and lumbar region. Try to reduce both your total sitting time and the time it takes each time you sit. Get up often. Take small walks. You can set a clock at certain intervals as a reminder. In this way, you will both burn a few extra calories and reduce your chances of experiencing low back pain.

Organize your daily work environment

Make ergonomic arrangements in accordance with your body structure in the areas where you spend most of your day. For example; You can spend some of the time you will spend in front of the computer in the standing work setup you will set up. So you can adjust the position of your screen to avoid looking up or down or turning to one side too much. Doing this can be as effortless as putting a few books under your laptop and acquiring a wireless mouse and keyboard. Improper arrangement of your kitchen counter can also prepare the ground for your neck and lower back pain. For this reason, you can prevent the problem by making ergonomic arrangements suitable for your body structure.

Don't forget to yawn 

prof. Dr. Ahmet Alanay “The word exercise actually includes three basic elements: muscle strength, conditioning and flexibility. Among the three, flexibility is, for some reason, often neglected more often. Back stretches of 3-15 seconds while standing can be helpful for your lower back pain. There are also similar exercise movements performed by lying face down. You can also do forward stretches with fetal pose or similar exercises.

Strengthen your abdominal and waist muscles 

Abdominal and lower back muscles, which provide the basis of your posture, support good breathing and correct posture. If you are still raw, you can start with simple breathing exercises first. Standing in plank pose (standing with your hands and/or hands on the floor and your body at 45 degrees with the ground) is also effective for strengthening these muscles. As your form improves, you can switch to exercises such as running on the floor in the plank position or crab kick. Most of the time, simple exercises with your own body weight will suffice. For more advanced exercises, you can use exercise bands, light weights and similar products.

Do shoulder girdle exercises

Sitting for long periods of time in a bad position, bent forward or bent, takes a toll on your back, shoulders and elbows. Squeeze your shoulder girdle and bring your shoulder blades closer to your spine. You can think of it as putting your hand in your back pocket. This move will help strengthen your back muscles. Stay in this position for a few seconds and then relax. If you repeat this movement a few times every hour, you will feel that the tension in your back is reduced and your muscles are relaxed. For a more convenient sitting position, you can put a step under your feet. Raising your knees to hip level or slightly above will reduce the load on your lower back.

move your neck

Bending over to look at phones, tablets, and portable computers puts our necks in a difficult position for long periods of time. With simple neck exercises, you can strengthen your muscles and increase your range of motion while relaxing your muscles. Since our neck is a place where many important vascular and nervous structures pass, it is important to do these exercises slowly, gently and carefully.

Stretch your hamstrings

prof. Dr. Ahmet Alanay said, “Our hamstring muscles on the back of the legs, which are one of the rare muscle groups in the body, are one of the muscle groups where muscle shortness and tightness are most common. Stretching and lengthening these muscles will also help improve your posture. You can stretch your back muscles with different exercises that can be done lying down, sitting and standing.

Wear comfortable and supportive shoes

If you are staying at home much longer than before, you can wear comfortable shoes that support the sole of the foot. Shoes that support the inner arch of the foot can also be effective in regulating posture and reducing low back pain through the knees and hips. When you go out, prefer your shoes to be healthy and comfortable rather than stylish.

Watch your weight

Excess weight is one of the factors that contribute to low back pain. Using your height and weight measurements, you can calculate your body mass index and better evaluate your overweight, if any. Sometimes, the extra weight may be on the items you carry or lift, not on your body. Learn how to lift heavy items more ergonomically. Remember, a tired muscle will come back to you as a weak and aching muscle. Reduce unnecessary loads on your muscles.

Make sure the environment is well lit

Poor lighting in your daily life and working environment will cause you to bend your neck more and tire your eyes. You can provide better illumination of the environment by taking the tabletop or floor standing lighting near you. If your space is narrow, you can choose clip-on lighting that can be connected to tables and screens. You should also take care to adjust your lighting system in a way that does not complicate your sitting and staying movements. In fact, you will have to try once or twice to make all these adjustments and arrangements, but then you will see a lot of benefits in the long run.

prof. Dr. Ahmet Alanay lists the complaints that are called 'red flag findings' and that require immediate medical attention;

  • Numbness, numbness and tingling in the arms or legs that occurs for the first time or does not improve in 2-3 weeks
  • Loss of strength in the arms and legs; hand dropping, unilateral difficulty walking on toes or heels
  • Pain that wakes you up at night
  • Systemic symptoms such as fever, weight loss, nausea, etc. accompanying the pain
  • Numbness, numbness in the seat area
  • Difficulty holding small or large toilet and incontinence


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