I am often asked by my patients what they can do in their day to day lives to help themselves. Here are three examples of very simple changes you can make which will help you manage life’s general aches and pains.
1. Why are you carrying so much?
This tends to apply more to women but some men are also guilty of lugging huge quantities of unnecessary stuff around with them.
Ladies, clear out your handbag! Go through it carefully and take out the things that you never use or don’t need, you would be surprised how much all those little things can end up weighing. Whilst you are busy, go ahead and clear all the spare change out of your purse too. Either exchange it or use it. If your purse is bulging with receipts then go through them and keep them somewhere else, they are taking up room. Once your handbag is down to a more acceptable weight, try and alternate shoulders so that it is more evenly distributed and you don’t end up developing a lean to one side.
Laptops are designed to be portable, that said if you aren’t going to use it then don’t drag it home with you. If you have a shoulder bag then it should go across your chest to help distribute the weight.
Backpacks, including those used for school, should have even length straps and both straps should be used.
If you are teetering around with so many shopping bags you can barely walk, or are leaning heavily to one side, then chances are you are trying to carry too much. Use a trolley if you are trying to get it from the shop into the car and make two trips when you get home.
2. Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket
This one is for the gents. Please, please don’t sit on your wallet whilst driving or at work. It forces you to lean at an angle and puts direct pressure on your gluteal muscles and can even irritate your sciatic nerve.
The bigger the wallet the worse it is, see above about emptying spare change and receipts. Use a different pocket or even better, carry your wallet in a bag.
3. Try not to sit with your legs crossed
Sitting with your legs crossed can affect the short term blood supply. It twists the pelvis and shortens both the buttock and the hip muscles. It is a very difficult habit to break so it can be helpful to ask someone to point it out to you throughout the day and remind you. If you absolutely must cross your legs, at least swap them over from time to time.
Remember that there is only so much that can be done within a 40 minute or an hour appointment slot, unless you also change your behaviours. Ultimately it’s a lot of small changes that can result in a big improvement.