5 Tips to Reduce Pain:
As a Chiropractor I see people every day that are in pain. Part of their treatment always includes a discussion about what they can do to prevent the pain in the first place. Here are a few of the recommendations I give to people on a daily basis:
1. Take a break from your phone and devices
Did you know there is actually something called “text neck”? “Text neck” occurs when there is a protruding forward of the first few bones of your cervical spine in your neck. It is so common in our society now to be looking down at our phones almost constantly. We look down at our devices during mealtimes, school, work and sometimes even while we are walking. The average head weighs around 10 pounds and the strain of that 10 lb. ball leaning forward puts a lot of stress on the muscles and ligaments in your neck. These habits can lead to neck pain and headaches.
Advice: Put the phone down for a while and look up!
2. Adjust your computer chair
My office is right down the street from two very big software companies, Adobe and Xactware. The moment I have a patient walk in the door from one of these companies I know I am almost always going to be working on the CT region. The CT region is the base of the neck and top of the back which carries the brunt of the force when you are leaning down to look at your screen. In many ways it’s very similar to text neck just manifesting in a different area.
Advice: Adjust your monitor or chair so you can look directly at the screen without having to look up or down.
3. Become ambidextrous
I don’t actually expect anyone to start switching hands while writing or throwing a ball, but always using the same arm for larger everyday activities like carrying groceries or your child can add up. If you constantly lean to the same side every time we carry something or bend over your body will compensate for the movement. Most often I see this compensation manifested as a pain localized to one side of the body or pain in the ribs when trying to breathe or move.
Advice: Try switching arms when you lifting or carrying something heavy.
4. Sleep on your back
I feel slightly hypocritical adding this to my list because I have never been able to sleep on my back. The American Chiropractic Association states that sleeping on your back is the preferred position for good sleeping posture, but sleeping on your side is acceptable if you use proper support. Sleeping on your stomach is not only the least desirable position to sleep in, but it can damage your spine and nervous system. People spend a lot of money worrying about buying the best mattress but maybe it’s just the way we sleep. On average a human being spends approximately 1/3 of their lifetime sleeping. Sleep posture is just as important as our standing or seated posture.
Advice: Avoid sleeping on your stomach. On your back is best, on your side is fine.
To me this is the best advice I can give people. We spend a lot of our lives lying in bed, sitting at school/work, sitting on the couch, sitting at the dinner table, and then back to lying in bed. Our bodies were not designed to be so sedentary. The longer we stay in hunched or seated postures the more tension we are putting on our spine causing creep and hysteresis. Our body can react to most normal movements much like a rubber band snapping back into place after moving. However if the rubber band is put on stretch for too long it either takes much longer to return to normal or is unable to return to its previous state at all. Get up and get active! Find a hobby or activity that gets you moving every day and you will be amazed at how much better your body feels.
Advice: Find an activity you enjoy that will keep you active.
If any of these sound familiar to you, please come in and see us for a free consultation. Give us a call at 801-893-1010.