With every new year comes a flood of people making New Year’s resolutions. And we all know that by the end of January, most of those resolutions go out of the window. So, rather than commit to something that you can’t realistically continue on a regular basis, we are here to offer you some wellness tips that you can and should incorporate into your daily routines today!
Mom: “sit up straight, young man, and stop slouching!” How many times have we been corrected for proper posture? If you’re anything like me, I have been corrected thousands of times for my posture. Many of you are now sitting up straighter right now because I mentioned the word posture. The reality is that our posture affects us more than we know. The common position for many people today is forward head and rounded shoulder posturing. We spend lots of time on computers, tablets, and smart phones. The use of these items increases the risk of this poor posturing. The problem with the forward head, rounded shoulder posturing is that it puts pressure on our body in all the wrong places. There is increased strain on our lower back, increased compression on the nerves in our shoulder, and increased tightness of the muscles in our chest. As a result of all these changes, the normal result is eventual long-term pain and muscle imbalance. All that is to say that mom was right. “Sit up straight, young lady, and stop slouching!”
Another common statement said at continuing education conferences in the hand therapy world is “motion is lotion.” What does this odd sounding statement mean? Quite simply, movement is like WD-40 to our joints. The more we keep active and moving, the better circulation and blood flow we have to and from our joints. This fact is especially important in people who have arthritis. For people with arthritic changes in their joints, range of motion decreases pain, increases blood flow to the joints, and increases overall function. So, this new year make it a habit everyday to keep moving and not be a couch potato!
“Well, what should I do if I have an acute injury and my hand starts to swell?” The common acronym to remember with an acute injury is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest allows the inflammation and tissue damage to decrease. Ice helps to decrease pain and swelling through something called vasoconstriction. Compression helps to pump the excess fluid/swelling out of the affected area. Elevation utilizes gravity to decrease the excess fluid/swelling in the affected area. This advice in no way takes the place of professional medical advice but is a good thing to remember for common injuries.
So, this new year, let’s all make a commitment to improve our daily routines with things that we can actually commit to through the year. Wellness costs a lot less than intervention. Implementing these simple habits can make all the difference in the world. Here’s to a great 2020 for all of us, full of good health and wellbeing.