Do you find parts of your body in pain but don’t know how it started? Often, the cause of our pain comes from the simple choices we make every day. Most of these choices are made without thinking but, if repeated, can lead to considerable ongoing discomfort. Here are a few examples of how everyday actions could be causing you harm.
1. Wearing flat shoes
Thongs and ballet flats might be convenient but they offer little in the way of arch support, and can lead to pain in the heels, ankles and knees.
Solution: wear shoes with good arch support that fit properly. If you’re going to be walking a lot, choose runners.
2. Sleeping crooked
If you tend to wake up sore in the morning it might be time to look at the way you sleep. Side sleepers often throw one arm overhead and after a while, this can make the arm go numb or result in tension in the shoulder and neck. Stomach sleepers may tend to twist their neck to the side, often to the point of strain.
Solution: the best position for sleeping is on your back or on your side with your arms below shoulder level. If you’re a side sleeper, you may put a pillow between your knees to support the lower back. If simple changes still have you waking up in pain, you may need to reconsider your pillow or mattress.
3. Driving in an uncomfortable position
Most of us don’t realise how much time we actually spend sitting in our car. If your seat is at the wrong angle, it can spell disaster for your posture. Having the seat reclined too far back can force you to slouch forward to hold the steering wheel, causing your head to pull away from the headrest and skewing the neck awkwardly.
Solution: keep your seat in an upright position that will allow for support of your neck and lower back. The steering wheel should be easy to reach and there should be a slight bend in your arms.
4. Texting on your phone
Throughout the day most of us use our phones quite a lot to text, surf the web and play games. That means a lot of wear and tear on our thumbs. Overuse of these joints can lead to arthritis at the base of the thumb.
Solution: if you start to feel pain in your thumbs, give the smartphone a rest. You may need to look at treatment options from a physiotherapist if the pain continues.
5. Carrying heavy things on one shoulder
Many people have a favourite side to carry their handbag, laptop case and other items. This can lead to shoulder, back and neck pain – especially if you don’t pay attention to your posture. If this behaviour is continued, it can also result in a slight misalignment of the spine, which can affect the way that you walk.
Solution: try distributing the weight between both shoulders and maintain good posture; walk tall with your tummy tucked in and leading from the chest.
6. Having your wallet in your back pocket
This one’s a doozy. If you always keep your wallet in your back pocket when sitting, you may harming your back and buttocks. The pressure of your wallet against your buttocks can result in compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve. A very fat wallet can even throw the spine slightly out of alignment and result in muscle tension.
Solution: remove your wallet before sitting down, particularly when in the car.