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Living with your back and neck - Top tips


Using your computer
Place your feet flat on the floor and ensure the top of the screen is level with your eyes to discourage you from slumping.
To counteract ­repetitive mouse ­action, take some time out mid-morning and mid-afternoon to sit with your hands in your lap and gently pull shoulder blades up, then back and down. Hold for 10 ­seconds and repeat 10 times.

When on the phone
If youre at work, stand up and arch your back when taking or making a call on the phone.
Never cradle the phone between the ear and ­shoulder and type at the same time as this ­contributes to neck and shoulder stiffness.
Beware of text neck, caused by hunching over your telephone and overflexing the tissues and joints in the neck.
This can result in headaches or shoulder, neck and wrist pain in the short term and curvature of the spine and arthritis in the long term.
Try gently rotating your head and neck after sending a text  this will keep you feeling supple.

When youre driving
Make sure your headrest is positioned at the correct height  to protect against whiplash in a crash.
And position your rear view mirror so you have to sit up straight to see in it.
Whenever you stop at traffic lights, suck in your tummy. A strong core will protect your back. You can roll your shoulders slowly too and release the muscles in your neck and shoulders.

When getting kids in and out of the car
The motion of lifting and twisting  one of the worst combinations for your back  is hard to avoid when putting a child into a car seat.
Hold your child close to you and get as near as you can to the seat.
Bend at the knees and hips, not the waist. When placing your child in the seat shift the effort to your hips, arms and abdominals, rather than your back.

Swimming
Water provides great support and resistance and is non weight bearing for the body.
However, the base of the neck is left ­vulnerable during breaststroke. Particularly if you dont put your head under the water  so invest in goggles!

If you do one thing....
Simply stretching each muscle group for 15-30 seconds every day can make all the difference to protecting your back. But being able to bend over to touch your toes doesnt necessarily mean youre flexible.
You need to move in six directions. Thats flexing forwards and backwards; rotating to the right and left and ­moving sideways right and left  and it all can be done sitting, lying and standing.


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