And I Still Love my Work!
One of the main reasons that back problems can happen when sneezing and coughing, is that when we hold ourselves in a fixed or twisted manner, with locked knees, contracted muscles and habitual tension in the lower, lumbar region of the back, this tightness will be increased by the spasms of coughing and sneezing. The spasms will obviously be more exaggerated if you have long bouts of coughing so that the jolting can strain your muscles, sometimes even damaging an intervertebral disc, causing great pain.
Bend Your Knees When You Cough and Sneeze!
However, if we learn to unlock our hips, knees and ankles so that they can bend, this can help our back to be freely lengthening, so the muscles are able to respond more elastically as our ribs expand and contract with the sneezing and the jolt can be softened so that it ripples through us, rather than straining us. This way of sneezing and coughing can also be helpful for people after having abdominal surgery, possibly with the addition of holding the abdomen for extra support during the sneeze – something I found incredibly helpful after having major surgery.
The BBC reports a survey of secondary school children that shows the social impact of mobile phones, with many families having a home life that is being harmed by their overuse. Parents frequently use their phones during mealtimes, for instance, so that children have asked them to turn their phones off. Not surprisingly, the research also stated that many children were frequently sleep deprived because of using their phones late into the night. Some teens even managed to be on their phones for 20 hours a day during weekends and holidays! Add into the mix the epidemic in both adults and children having painful ‘text neck‘ and RSI problems, it is easy to see how damaging phone use can be.
The Big Garden Birdwatch is useful, as well as being fun! Encourage your children to join you in monitoring the birds for one hour in local parks such as Newington Green or Clissold Park, or even the birds you can see from your window at home.
you are using binoculars, or looking up to
see what bird is sitting in the treetops, your neck and shoulders can get
very contracted, tense and jammed up. A good challenge is to look right up to the
top of the Tate Modern tower, to where peregrine falcons
often sit and sometimes nest – without scrunching up your neck – How do you do that?
learnt in Alexander lessons – remember to keep freeing your neck and maintaining as much length as possible in both your neck and your spine as you look around. Allow your neck to lengthen out again at frequent intervals. Keep your arms and shoulders free and loose, allowing them to drop down regularly, so they can lengthen out again. If
you are using heavy binoculars use a wide strap to
spread the weight, rather than pressing it into your neck.
it is all too easy to arch your back if you are looking upwards like Sir John, so
that you can end up with back ache. However, if you are aware of your use and keep giving yourself directions so that you maintain the length in your spine, you will hopefully avoid any discomfort and just enjoy yourself. You might be wise to lie down in semi-supine afterwards, to let go of any scrunching and mis-use that’s taken place…..
It is always good to see some new Alexander Technique teachers qualifying from the London Centre of Alexander Teaching and Training, LCATT, teacher training course and to know that I have contributed to their experience of learning how to teach the AT.
Do you spend hours at a time using your smart phone and tablet?
F M Alexander’s work centred on the role of habits in our lives.
I’ve been teaching the Alexander Technique for 29 years!