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Prevent Injuries at Home PDF Print E-mail
Written by Valerie Smith   

Preventing Injuries: Home Tips for Patients


In addition to correcting problems that arise in patients, doctors of chiropractic are uniquely qualified to help patients prevent those problems with some common sense advice patients can use at home.

"Chiropractors study the body as it functions normally, not only from a perspective of disease, so I think we naturally think about what is normal and how patients can maintain that statues," explained Dr. Linda Denham, of Denham Chiropractic in Cartersville.

"The human body is a fabulously designed, machine, and we teach our patients to respect it. You check the gas, water and oil in your car to prevent engine failure rather than deal with a costly and often irreparable crisis due to neglect. Hopefully any doctor who has their patients' best interests in mind would talk to them about prevention," she said.

Chiropractors have a great opportunity to help patients prevent problems while taking their case history.

"It's an excellent time to determine what is wrong, how the patient got that way, what can be done to correct it and what patients can do for themselves to prevent a recurrence," she said.

As lifting while turning is one of the most common ways people hurt their backs at home, Denham suggest the following while lifting:

  • Pivot on your feet, not at the waist
  • Always carry weight close to the body
  • Always bend the elbows slightly, engaging the biceps and triceps, which were designed to carry weight, rather than the rotator cuff muscles that were designed to hold your arm in the shoulder girdle.

While an acute injury can affect the spine, normal, day-to-day activities can also cause the body to compensate, causing pain or weak posture.

Denham urges patients to be aware of their posture as they are performing tasks at home or relaxing. "The body has less strain if the weight of the head is centered over your body.

"Sitting in a recliner that pushes your head forward causes stress not only in your neck, but it reverses the lumbar curve," she explained.

"Working at a work surface that is too high or too low can cause back strain, as can sitting on a stool without supporting your feet," she continued.

She said the best way to sit to support your spine is as follows:

  • Sit with fee flat on the floor, or on a foot rest if feet do not reach the floor
  • Do not cross feet at ankles with one foot rolled to the side
  • Sit firmly against the back of your chair with your lower back supported
  • Avoid sitting in one place for more than 20 minutes without getting up to stretch
  • Don't sit on your foot
  • Bring handheld electronics up to eye level instead of bending your head forward to see them

Denham said preventing spine problems is important. "The body is designed to function at its optimum with the neck and lower back balancing each other. When the body is out of balance, patients lose optimum mobility.