Correct sleeping posture

Is your bed a pain in the butt?

Written by Dr. David Howard – B.Sc. (Clinical Sci.), M.H.Sc. (Osteopathy), B.App.Sc (Human Movement) from Pascoe Vale Osteopathy located in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

As most people spend about the same time sleeping as they do sitting at a desk, your sleeping posture is just as important  as your sitting posture. Research has indicated that 41% of people sleep in the foetal position. This posture, however, isn’t optimal in maintaining correct spinal alignment.

The best spinal alignment when sleeping is the same as when sitting, but obviously lying down – click onto this previous article for more detail. The triple C-curve of your spine is maintained and there is no excess pressure on any part of the spine. I know bad habits are hard to change but try going to sleep correctly and hopefully your sleeping body eventually gets the picture. We will start from the top…

*Neck straight with your chin away from your chest
*Good supportive pillow filling the gap between your head and shoulders – click onto this previous article for more detail
*Arms in front of you or hugging a pillow
*Maintain the curve in your low back or lumbar spine by having your knees below the level of your hips
*Both knees should be together so that the back is nice and straight. (Many people, especially women with larger hips will find this uncomfortable or impossible. Placing a pillow between your knees will remedy this).

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Core strength, why it’s important and how to get it

Core Strength – why it’s important and how to get it!

Written by Dr. David Howard – B.Sc. (Clinical Sci.), M.H.Sc. (Osteopathy), B.App.Sc (Human Movement) from Pascoe Vale Osteopathy located in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Although we all love the idea of having a 6 pack and a flat stomach, doing lots of stomach crunches isn’t the key to strengthening the mid section – focusing on the core is! Not only does having a strong core act like a corset tightening the midsection, it is also vital in preventing lower back pain and injury. Strong core muscles are your own internal back brace when lifting or going about your everyday activities. This type of exercise also trains you to be more conscious of your posture which further helps in preventing injury.

The Muscles

The function of the core muscles is to stabilise movement of the lumbar spine and pelvis before and during any movement. There are two types of muscle fibres in the body – fast and slow twitch fibres. Fast twitch fibres can be found in muscles like the biceps whose function predominantly involves short, fast and strong contractions (i.e. when lifting something).  Slow twitch fibres are your postural muscles like those of the core, whose function is to contract softly yet over a long period of time. The exercises therefore to strengthen the core are slow and controlled and initially require a lot of concentration to do correctly.

The key muscles of the core are the Transversus Abdominus, Multifidus, Internal Oblique and the pelvic floor. When all of these muscles contract together, they produce pressure within the abdomen which stabilises the lumbar spine. This core ‘protective system’ is very intelligent – as you think of performing a movement, the muscles contract ready for when you do the movement.

Since these muscles have a postural and stabilising function, they need to be strengthened when your spine and pelvis is in the correct alignment. These muscles don’t need great strength but instead need endurance. The key to training the core is doing it regularly, carefully and correctly.

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