- Avoid activities/position that strain the joints of the pelvis and lower back: crossing legs, climbing stairs, standing with weight on one leg, cross-trainer machine, stair stepper or stair climber on machines, bicycling, sitting in asymmetrical positions.
- Use the best sleeping position: lying on your left side with a pillow support under head and neck and between knees.
- Use good lifting techniques: Don’t Bend forward through the waist to pick up anything, but rather squat down (even for a paperclip or pacifier!). Get the weight of the object close to yours body before standing. Don’t hold your breath when lifting items; exhale as you lift. Avoid twisting to reach for or pick up items from any height.
- For standing activities, such as washing dishes, cooking, ironing, brushing teeth, changing diapers: Keep a small footstool near common work areas. Keep one foot on the stool while performing the activity; interchange with the other foot every 5 - 10 minutes. In the kitchen or bathroom, open a cabinet door and rest your foot on the cabinet shelf.
- Getting in and out of the car. In: Place all items in the passenger or back seat BEFORE getting into the driver’s seat. After opening the Driver’s side door, turn to face away from the seat. Sit down scoot back into the seat (still facing sideways). Now bring one leg at a time into the car. For getting out of the car: Bring one leg at a time out of the car. Turn your body to face toward the door. Scoot to the edge of the seat before standing. Retrieve items from the passenger seat or back seats AFTER getting out of the car.
- Getting in and out of bed. In: Sit on the edge of the bed and scoot back for thighs to be fully supported on bed. While lifting legs up onto bed, lower upper body onto elbow. Once lying on your side, you may further position yourself in side lying or roll onto back. Out: if lying on back, bend knees and roll onto side without twisting the spine. While lowering legs off edge of bed, push weight of trunk up with the help of your arms (elbows beneath and other hand in front). Once in a seated position, come to standing.
- Avoid prolonged positions. If you sit all day at work, take a brief standing or walking break every 15-30 minutes. If you stand all day or during cooking, etc., take a sitting break (preferably with feet propped up) every 15-30 minutes; pump your ankles during this break to improve blood flow and reduce swelling.
- Use a cold or ice pack on “flared up” areas for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Perform Stabilization exercises 2x in the morning and 2x at night.
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Sabina Weaver, MSPT-ATC-L