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Being good to your back and joints

Protect your spine and joints from damage by making a few changes to daily activities.

How to protect your spine and hips:

  • Avoid movements that put stress on your spine, such as bending forward from the waist
  • When climbing stairs, use the handrail for support and go up or down sideways, facing the rail, when possible
  • To help keep good alignment in your spine, sleep on a firm mattress and use special neck supports or pillows
  • Be conscious of good posture during the day - this will help avoid undue stress on your spine
  • Use a computer wisely: make sure your neck, wrists and lower back are in relaxed and neutral positions. Take a break and stand up every half hour or so

How to protect all your joints:

  • Balance activity and rest: neither sitting nor standing all day is good for you
  • Avoid heavy lifting if you can. If you do need to move heavy loads, consider pushing instead of pulling, sliding instead of lifting, or using a pushcart (e.g., bringing groceries from the car to the house)
  • Pick a raised seat to decrease stress on hip and knee joints
  • Lift big pans and other heavy objects with two hands, and carry them close to your body
  • Use a reacher to pick up items from the ground, or a cane to decrease pressure on a knee or hip
  • Protect your knuckles - use gadgets to twist open lids, enlarge the grip on tools and kitchen utensils, and push doors open with your whole body instead of just your fingers