Protecting Your Spine
Everyone can benefit from good body mechanics — moving the body in a safe, efficient manner — but it’s crucial after spine surgery. Proper body mechanics allow the spine to heal and align properly. Your care team will help you learn how to maintain a neutral spine position, which refers to the curvature of a healthy spine.
It’s important to know the proper positioning when you sit, stand, walk, reach for something, pick something up or even lie in bed. Practicing a neutral spine position will help speed healing after surgery and reduce pain.
Remember B.R.A.T. for Good Posture
Use the acronym B.R.A.T. to help you remember neutral spine principles:
- Bending. Bend with your hips and your legs. Don't bend forward, curving your spine.
- Reaching. Reach within the normal limits of your arms. Don't reach beyond your arms, which will put strain on your spine. Don't reach across your body, which causes you to twist.
- Arching. Avoid postures that can arch your back, such as sleeping on your stomach. Sleep on your side or your back. While you're in the hospital, your nurse will help you move from your side to your back frequently to keep you comfortable.
- Twisting. Avoid actions such as reaching across your body, which causes your spine to twist. After surgery, we'll help you get used to turning your body instead of twisting — for example, turning rather than twisting to look behind you.
Your nurses and therapists will teach you proper body positioning and help you practice neutral spine principles during your hospital stay.