What! A simple task as brushing your teeth? How can this be so dangerous? I have done it this way for years and it’s never been a problem!
The fact that you have repeated the same motion for years may be the reason why your back is now giving you problems. It may be that you are so accustomed to repeating a bad habit, that your body is now showing symptoms of degeneration from the build up of stress.
Leaning over the sink and curving your spine means that you are putting too much strain on the ligaments or tendons holding the spine together; that should only be used for maintaining the spine vertical. Eventually, the tendons and ligaments become so irritated by the constant stretching movement; they will eventually inform warn you that the damage is getting worse and you’re spine is deteriorating.
An alternative method is to slightly flex your legs by about 15 degrees at the knee joint, or just relax your knees so that they are no longer straight. This movement will tilt your pelvis forward and remove the arches from your spine. The spine moves back into a vertically, balanced and relaxed position, leaving it to feel vertical and free from any build up of tension.
Now you can lean over the sink only by flexing at your hips and keep your back straight. There is nothing to worry about in your back, because the vertebrae are all hooked together and nothing in your spine will move, because it is designed to always remain straight.
The spine is a wonderful part of your anatomy, because it keeps you upright for doing all your purposeful activity and also protects the spinal column that runs up and down the center of the vertebrae.
It is very important that you maintain the vertical position of the spine, because it holds the main controlling center of all your nerves in the body. It is no wonder there is so much back pain, because few people understand how curving the spine causes so much pressure on tendons and ligaments that are designed for keeping it straight.
By changing the habit of bending your back into just slightly bending your knees, when you clean your teeth; will dramatically modify the way your spine moves for performing a very simple task as cleaning your teeth.
Just remember that any flexing movement in the knees will automatically tilt your pelvis backwards and then change the position of your spine to a completely vertical position. Now you have complete control to flex forwards at the hips, keeping your back straight and lean over the sink.
It is so simple; you will wonder why you have been doing it wrong for so long!
The author, Gail McGonigal is a qualified Occupational Therapist with an M.Sc in Health Promotion. Her clinical experience has been largely in the community, maintaining safety of clients in their homes. Gail owns a website called Active Living Solutions Ltd.