4 sleeping positions and how it affects your health

We spend a third of our lives sleeping and quality sleeping is beneficial to our well-being. 95% of us sleep in the same position every single night and the sleeping position can impact our health both positively and negatively. It is thus very important to adopt the correct and best sleeping position for better health.

Sleeping on the back

Sleeping on the back is described as lying flat on the back, placing the head on a pillow for support and the body facing the ceiling in an upwards position. Sleeping on the back is a good position as it keeps the spine and head aligned together in a straight line. It is especially ideal for patients suffering from joint pain as it distributes the body’s weight evenly. Try keeping the toes pointing upwards but often, the toes will be pointing sideways. Try placing a pillow beneath the knees for extra support. Always use a neck support pillow to provide additional support for the cervical spine.

Sleeping on the side

Sleeping on the side is described as lying on the sides with both legs straightened and the head on a pillow and the hands in front of the body. Sleeping on the side is another good sleeping position as the spine and head are aligned. Sleeping on the sides also help to reduce snoring. Do make sure that you do not bend your back too much as it will place a lot of strain on the neck and back, causing pain. One negative side to sleeping on the side is that it may cause wrinkles due to the face constantly pressing against the pillow.

Fetal position

Fetal position is described as drawing both legs towards the chest and tucking them in. It helps to repair wear and tear in the back and reduce snoring. However, it is straining for both the neck and back, causing pain when you wake up in the morning. The fetal position also hinders diaphragmatic breathing. Prolonged period of sleeping in this position may cause your breasts to sag.

Side by side

Couples love to sleep side by side with each other, lying in each other’s arm. However, sleeping side by side in a constraint space will cause the body to go into a position which will cause strain to the muscles and joints. Prolonged period of sleeping side by side will cause back and shoulder pain and even possible misalignment of the neck.

Your favourite sleeping position could possibly cause you neck and back pain, wrinkles and even breathing problems. Decide on which are the best positions for you to sleep in and avoid those that are harmful to your health.

7 ways to protect your spine from injury

Our spine consists of three parts namely the cervical spine, thoracic spine and the lumbar spine. These different parts bear the grunt of our weight and are totally defenceless to injuries and strains. However, there are ways to protect our spine by taking note of the following.

Stretching

Doing regular back stretches correctly is crucial to the protection of the spine. Stretching relaxes the back and helps the body to recover properly and tone up. Stretching can help ease tension and keep the spine in the most comfortable position.

Exercise

Exercising helps to strengthen the back muscles which in turn will help to provide an even better support to the spine. Always try to stand upright and sit upright in the right posture as poor posture will put a huge amount of strain on the spine.

Ergonomics

Always make sure that ergonomic sitting is done in your office. Make sure that the backrest of your chair is tilted in a slightly reclined position. Both of your feet must be firmly on the ground. Move the monitor screen so that the centre is level with your eye so as to prevent any strain to the cervical spine.

Proper sleep

A proper good night’s sleep will ensure you wake up with full energy and totally refreshed and relaxed. However, most of us wake up with a stiff neck or back. What could have caused it? The sleeping posture might be wrong. You should always aim to sleep in a position that supports the spine and always avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Avoid bending forward from the waist

Always try to avoid bending forward from your waist. If necessary, try to bend forward at your knees and hips as bending at the waist will increase the chances of you fracturing your spine.

Avoid sit ups

Sit ups are an exercise that many of us do on a regular basis. However, sit ups promote poor posture, injures our spine, strengthens our abdominal muscles but add stress on our lumbar spine due to the hunchback position. Instead of sit ups, do a basic abdominal exercise but bending only one of your leg and keeping the other straight. Always place a small pillow under your head to provide support to your back.

Don’t carry heavy packages

If you have an existing back problem, you should never carry something that weighs more than 4kg. However for others that needs to carry heavy things due to work, always remember to lift heavy things using the correct posture. Always kneel on one of your knees and bring the item to your waist level. Use the abdominal muscles to support your back and breathe out and lift up the item at the same time.

Our spine is very fragile and is easily injured. Always make sure that you are not doing activities that will put tremendous stress and pressure on it and always protect it.

Top 9 symptoms of Spine Injury

The spinal cord is the most important structure in our body. It contains all the nerves that carry messages from our brain to the body and vice versa. The spinal cord passes through the back of our body from the neck down. Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious injuries that cause permanent loss of movement at the site of the injury.

There are many possible signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury which includes:

Deformation of spine

If the patient is lying on the ground on his back in an awkward position such as a tilted head in an unusual position, it may be due to a severe spinal injury

Head injury

Patients with severe head injury such as depression in parts of the skull are assumed to have injured their spine.

Spinal pain

Any pain in the spinal region whether localized or defused may indicate spinal injury and special attention is required.

Bruises and cuts

If there are bruises, cuts or wound over the spinal region, it is an indication that a spinal injury may have occurred.

Numbness

Numbness or paralysis at parts of the body indicates that an injury to the cervical spine has occurred. The patient will often feel weak and loss of ability to move the limbs. Check the areas affected and whether does it affect just the upper or lower body.

Loss of bladder and bowel control

Patients with spinal injury often lose their bladder and bowel control. Nerves control our bladder and bowel control and patients who suffered spinal injury are unable to know that their bladder are full and thus will cause their bladder to empty by itself.

Irregular reflexes

The body’s reflex functions are controlled by our nerves. As such, any irregularity observed indicates a spinal injury.

Spasticity

After an injury to the spinal cord, scar tissues will form, disconnecting the nerve cells at the injury site from the brain.  As a result, the nerve cells which control our muscle activities are affected, causing spasticity.

Sexual dysfunction

When our brain processes sexual thoughts, it sends signals through our nerves down to our penis. However in the presence of a spinal injury, the nerves that control our ability to have an erection are injured, causing the inability to have an erection.

Depending on the severity of injury suffered to the spinal cord, the paralysis can be complete or incomplete. Despite the advancement of medical technology, there is still no cure for spinal injuries. Thus, prevention is the best option available. Therefore it is extremely important to protect our spinal cord.