You know the saying: “Accidents happen.” It’s a cliché, but it’s what we remind ourselves when we spill a glass of milk, forget to pick up eggs at the store, or even trip and fall on our butts. We’re all so used to accidents just “happening” that sometimes we forget that there are things we can do to prevent accidents. Let’s look at how you can reduce the chance of getting common injuries with these five tips.
1. Make Sure You Are Lifting Properly
If you need to lift something heavy, you’ve probably heard that you need to lift with your legs. This is true, because the alternative (lifting with your back) can cause terrible sprains and aches that keep you off your feet for days or even weeks. However, here’s a tip you may not have heard: don’t twist your back when you lift, either!
When you twist your torso to one side or the other, you’re putting pressure on the discs in your spine. If you lift something heavy, like a box or piece of furniture, your spine can’t handle that added weight easily in that twisted position. It’s too much pressure on your discs and nerves. Plus, it doesn’t enable you to use the muscles that should be engaged in your core when you’re lifting heavy things.
To lift properly, you should stand close to the object and squat down, keeping your torso straight. Grab the item, and use your legs to push up into a standing position while keeping the item close to your body. This will keep your spine properly aligned, evenly distribute the extra weight, and prevent back injuries.
2. Exercise at a Level Your Body Can Handle
Regular exercise is important for maintaining good health, but you have to run a mile before you run a marathon. Too much exercise (or exercise at a difficulty you can’t yet handle) can lead to excessive strain on your muscles and joints. It can also make you more prone to accidents and injuries if you’re working your body beyond what it can handle.
To prevent common injuries like pulled muscles or strains, start out slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. If you’ve never lifted weights, don’t try to start at 50 pounds, try 10-15 first. If you’ve never run a marathon, start with trying to run a mile first and figure out what your body can handle. Working on a gradient will help prevent injuries and enable you to make steady progress over time.
3. Maintain Good Posture
You know you should sit up straight. But did you know that your posture can have a huge impact on preventing injuries? When you slouch while sitting or standing, over time it has negative effects on your health. That’s because your body wasn’t designed to operate with the lower center of gravity that happens when you slouch. It can put pressure in places like organs or nerves that weren’t meant to handle that kind of continuous pressure, and the result is decreased health.
When sitting or standing, make sure that your spine is in its natural upright position—not hunched over or leaning in any particular direction. Additionally, try not to stay in one position for too long. Get up, move around and stretch after long periods of sitting still. That will help keep your body from getting stiff or feeling uncomfortable and keep your spine in good alignment.
4. Keep Your Chin Up
It’s easy to get caught up looking at our phones or tablets all day—but this posture isn’t doing us any favors. People who are always looking down at their devices tend to get more headaches, neck pains, and shoulder pains than people who practice better posture.
If you have to look down, do so sparingly. A good idea is to invest in ergonomic tools to keep your devices (like your computer monitor, phone, and tablet) at your eye level so you can maintain good posture while you work.
5. See a Chiropractor Regularly
The final and arguably most important step is to see a chiropractor for routine adjustments to keep your joints aligned. This will enable you to use your muscles properly, increase your circulation, and prevent your nerves from getting pinched or twisted.
Think of it like a tune-up for your car: your car can run great for a long time, but eventually it’s going to need an oil change, some new tires, and a wheel alignment. Your body will run great right up until it doesn’t—and routine chiropractic adjustments can help it run great for longer.
Visit Mattingly Chiropractic for Better Overall Health
We can’t promise that you’ll never get injured again if you follow our tips. But we can tell you that if you do follow the five tips above, you’ll significantly reduce the number of times you say, “Well, accidents happen!” Give the first four tips a try and see how much better your body feels. Then call Mattingly Chiropractic at (314) 310-8359 to get started on tip number five!