Adjust Your Work Station and Posture
Adjust your workstation and posture. Did you know a desk job can be hazardous to your health? Sitting too much was a serious health issue in the US last year. This is a big one. Most Americans are now at the computer up to eight hours a day during work. Bad posture can lead to neck pain. The human head can weigh up to 30 pounds. As the shoulders slouch with the eyes focused on a computer screen that is not properly positioned, the weight of the head pulls on the sensitive muscles and joints in the neck, and this can lead to neck pain. Your head will likely go wherever your computer screen is, so make an attempt to lower or raise your chair while working, or keep your screen parallel with your eyes.
Protect Yourself from Whiplash or Injury
A recent study published in The Journal of Pain in February, 2014, revealed that approximately 40% of all chronic neck pain in the United States can be attributed to a prior whiplash injury. These are people who experience neck pain on a regular basis. There are over 3 million cases of whiplash in the United States every year. Ten percent of these individuals will become disabled. That’s 300,000 people a year. Some estimate for women who experience a whiplash injury, there is up to a 33% chance of developing chronic neck pain, and up to a 55% chance of developing chronic headaches.
Check Your Pillow or Mattress
The wrong pillow can cause neck pain and affect the quality of our sleep. This may worsen or intensify neck pain and other related neck conditions such as headaches, upper back pain, shoulder pain and arm numbness, or nerve pain stemming from the neck. You want a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position throughout the night. Those who sleep on their backs need thinner to medium-sized pillows so their head is not too far forward or backwards.
Strengthen The Muscles In Between Your Shoulder Blades
Today’s society is facing a huge postural problem. Many of us are now spending eight to 10 hours a day at the computer. Coupled with driving and time in front of the television, we’re creating overly-flexed torsos, and this can lead to neck pain. Anthony Robbins, the great motivational guru, had a great saying when he said, “We wake up in the morning and eat our cereal from a box, then we get in our box and drive to work and sit in our box all day. Then we finish and come home and sit in front of the box at night.” As our middle back hunches, or rounds forward, the head starts to jut forward with the upper back and shoulders.
This can lead to stress and dysfunction in the neck muscles and joints, causing neck pain and other related conditions such as cervicogenic headaches, migraines, and nerve pain. To counter all the excessive flexion today’s modern spine is faced with, you can strengthen the muscles in your upper back—your spinal erectors, or extensors muscles. The muscles in your back and between your shoulder blades pull you backward and help maintain proper posture when strengthened. Your head and neck will adjust in a more neutral position, creating less postural stress on the sensitive muscles and joints in your neck.
About 25% of Americans are affected by back pain in a given year, and they spend more time at the doctor’s office for back pain than any other medical conditions with the exception of high blood pressure and diabetes. Nearly 80% of Americans will experience a back problem during their lifetime. Number one, exercise; exercise is crucial for people with lower back pain. It increases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and combats fatigue, and can help decrease lower back pain. Exercise can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Overweight individuals are at a greater risk for back pain, joint pain, and muscle strain than those who are not obese or overweight. According to the American Obesity Association, episodes of musculoskeletal pain, and specifically back pain, are prevalent among nearly one third of Americans who are classified as obese. It’s more wear and tear on your back joints—on all of your joints, for that matter. Your hip, knees, spinal joints, and discs wear on each other with more pressure on a daily basis, and this leads to the joints wearing down faster.
Talk to your doctor before considering any of this information as chiropractic or medical advice.