8 Daily Activities That Can Damage Your Spinal Cord

Have you ever heard the expression “You have no backbone”, or “I’ve seen more spine in a jellyfish“?  There are others but, point is, your spine is literally the backbone that helps keep your body together. However, as strong as the spine is, it is also extremely delicate, fragile, and detailed. It only takes the smallest pinched nerve to leave someone bedridden for a week or more because of pain that’s debilitating. This should give you even more reason to protect your spine, but everyday activities and movements may slowly be damaging yours.  Read on to learn what activites may me causing damage to your spine.

8 Daily Activities That Can Cause Spinal Cord Damage

  1. Carrying bags home from the grocery store

Although you may save and score a bunch of great deals, carrying groceries for long periods of time will always be a daunting task. The more you try to carry, the more pressure your spine will suffer. With the help of the rest of your body, your spine is strong. But grocery shopping tends to be a weekly outing and will likely take a toll on your spine over the years, especially if you aren’t careful about the total weight bearing load your are putting on your body.

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • If you are walking or taking transit with your groceries, invest in a shopping trolly – they conveniently fold for storage and take the weight off your body.

  • Do not lift with your back, but with your knees bent.

  • Try to evenly distribute the weight of your bags so you don’t put more pressure on one side of your spine than the other.

  1. Tying up shoelaces

Lacing up before heading out of the house is something people do every single day — and seems so harmless. It may be hard to believe, but doing things in a bent posture can affect the spine, especially when you don’t do it properly.[1] As a result of the pressure put on a bent spine, nutritional substances escape the spine and cause it to flatten (which can have its advantages).[2] That’s why, over time, you may feel sharp and distinct pains in certain areas of your back.

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • Instead of leaning downward to tie your shoelaces and not bending your knees, sit down instead.

  • On a stool, chair or bench, pull one leg up at a time to lace up.

  1. Changing a car tire

If you’re looking for instructions on how to replace a car tire, you may want to look somewhere else. But we can share with you how to do it safely and pain-free.

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • Whether you’re unscrewing the rim’s nuts or jacking up the car, make sure to level out.

  • Instead of leaning over the whole time, sit on the ground (or kneel) so your eyes are leveled with the car’s fender.

  1. Carrying a backpack or purse

Do you ever feel naked without your backpack? It’s truly incredible what some people can fit in their backpacks, satchels, and purses. They could probably leave home and still be fully equipped to live the life of a squatter. But, with this extra weight on your back or hanging off your shoulder all the time, the spine is under constant pressure – especially in the case of a heavy purse or handbag that is lopsided weight.

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • Pack lighter: If you honestly don’t think you’ll need your laptop or the four books you have on the go, leave them at home. Your spine will thank you.

  • There’s a reason backpacks come with two straps – because the designers knew the importance of spine health. Using backpacks with soft and wide straps provide better shock absorption, as well as reduce the pressure on your spine and neck. You can even clip the horizontal strap across your chest (if your backpack has one) to more evenly distribute the weight.

  • If you can help it, try to avoid using one-strap bags. The uneven weight distribution does not only harm your spine but your shoulders and neck as well. (It can leave you lopsided, too!)

  1. Taking heavy objects down from high places

Everyone ‘can do it’ until they can’t. We all know a stubborn person like that (you may even be him or her). In addition to the risk factor of having a heavy object fall on your head, when you reach up for anything – naturally – your spine stretches. Now, the stretching itself is not a bad thing. But it can quickly become dangerous when your spine suddenly has to support the weight of a heavy suitcase. Chances are doing this once won’t hurt, but the repeated habit of supporting heavy objects with a stretched spine will eventually have consequences.

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • Before taking a heavy object down from a high place, be sure to have a stool, chair or step ladder to minimize the pressure on your spine.

  • If possible, have a family member or friend spot you in case you lose balance and you fall down with the object.

  1. Washing the floor

Like you should take care when reaching upward, you should take just as much care when reaching downward. We feel like many of you already do this the right way, but it’s still worth mentioning. Cleaning the floor can be hard work, but bending over to scrub tiles, carpet or wood can put incredible strain on your legs, arms, neck, and back.

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • Stop washing the floor with your hands! A little elbow grease is always admirable, but not at the cost of your spine. Try using some of the world’s greatest inventions – the mop or the brush!

  1. Doing the dishes

Whether you’re washing your face or scrubbing dishes, it’s easy to stoop into a half-bed position with strained arms and rounded shoulders over the sink. This constant strain often leads to shoulder blade pain.

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • Now, it’s hard not rolling your shoulders forward if they’re sticking out in front of you. So, take a stool or chair and rest one knee on it while you’re cleaning the dishes and switch legs as necessary or just try and remain standing up straight with both feet on the floor.

  1. Brushing your teeth

In addition to brushing teeth, you probably find yourself in the same standing position throughout the day. Standing still for long periods of time puts tremendous strain on the spine over time. (Pay attention to the pain you feel releasing from your lower spine tonight as you lay on your back in bed.)

Tips for Avoiding Spinal Cord Damage

  • So, whether you’re brushing teeth or chatting by the water cooler, rest one hand on the wall or sink with your free hand to distribute some of the weight. This will help take all the pressure off your spine.

What else can help reduce spinal damage?

Information sourced from the following links:

[1] https://www.gaia.com/article/under-pressure-poor-posture-puts-more-pressure-your-spine

[2] http://bjj.boneandjoint.org.uk/content/67-B/4/625.short

https://brightside.me/inspiration-health/8-everyday-activities-that-can-damage-your-spine-358110/

https://tapoos.com/health/15-daily-activities-damaging-spine/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spinal-cord-injury/basics/prevention/con-20023837

http://www.healthline.com/health/spinal-injury#causes2

https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sports-and-spine-injuries/avoid-back-injury-right-lifting-techniques

 

The Hearty Soul

The Hearty Soul

The Hearty Soul is one of the world’s largest health information hubs. We connect regular people with cutting-edge research and the insights of medical professionals.
The Hearty Soul

Discover related articles

Read. Discover. Grow.