CAN THE WAY I SLEEP AFFECT MY SPINE?
Definitely! Sleeping on your stomach can put a lot of strain on the joints and muscles in the neck. You may get a ‘locked’ joint on waking and have to visit a physio to ‘unlock’ it! Side lying is the preferred position for sleeping. Your mattress should be firm but not hard. Different body shapes and sizes are suited to different types of mattress, ask your physio for some guidance.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A STRONG NECK?
A strong neck will prevent accelerated degeneration of the cervical spine, neck pain and headaches. It is important to strengthen the stabilising muscles of the spine with specific exercises that your physio can show you.
WHAT IS A SLIPPED DISC?
Intervertebral discs are the ‘shock absorbers’ of the spine and lie between each vertebrae. The disc is made up of an outer fibrous layer (annulus fibrosus) and an inner fluid centre (nucleus pulposus). Through stress and strain cracks can occur in the outer fibrous layer and the fluid centre can leak into the cracks and protruding into the spinal canal behind. Here it can compress on structures which can cause pain at the site or referred pain if compressing on a nerve. A better term for a slipped disc is a bulging or herniated disc.
WHAT IS SCIATICA AND CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP?
Sciatica is pain radiating into the buttock and/or down the leg due to a compressed nerve in the lower back or buttock. A physio can assess where the pain is originating from and then use a variety of therapeutic modalities to relieve the pain.