Things always seem to happen in series: not too long ago there was a series of patients presenting who had ‘I fell’ stories; this past week it was, “I was just putting on my socks”, then “I just bent over to pick up my shoes”, then, “I was putting on my pants when…”.
It occurs to me to share a few just-before-getting-out-of-bed-in-the-morning tricks. These will prepare your back for getting up and (whether you get up correctly/safely or not), will increase the likelihood that you will not experience back pain then or shortly thereafter. I will also share a little wisdom on what to do and what not to do immediately after getting out of bed; and how to do it.
So you have just woken up, and you are thinking of getting up out of bed. First, take minute to practice ‘bracing’. We teach new patients how to do that, it is easy enough to learn; and it is a basic skill for safely performing many of the other activities of your day. Here is your chance to rehearse it a little.
Then pull the covers off your legs and bend one knee and then the other so both feet are flat on the bed. Then extend one leg so the foot is up in the air – gently. Next flex and extend the foot/ankle a few times and gradually flex the toes toward your knee. When you have done that a few times comfortably, gently allow the straightened, now vertical or nearly so, leg to come back toward your head.
Do that on both sides several times, then put the ankle of the up leg over the bent knee of the other leg. Let’s say it’s the right ankle over the left knee; now let the knee/ankle combination gently lower to the left, then gently lower to the right.
By now you should be getting the idea: ‘gently’ is a guiding principle and necessary component of this procedure. When you are all done with that, get up. (I will cover how to do that safely tomorrow… .)