Have you ever woke up after a rough nights sleep with a crick in your neck? Ever had a long day at work and your head, neck and upper back were extremely tired and painful? If you answered yes to either one of these questions, welcome to the new majority. You can however separate yourself from the norm by taking back control of your motion and pain. How, you might ask? Prevention, eduction, and conservative treatment. You don't have to deal with stiffness and pain for days and weeks on end, until finally it resolves or it gets so bad that you are forced to do something about it. Prevention and education are the two best options for your first line of defense against falling into this all to common pain category. From an education standpoint, you want to first ensure that you focus on good posture when you are sleeping, standing, sitting, working, and driving. When sleeping the proper pillow that allows for a neutral spine is crucial. When sitting, driving, or performing any work at a desk or computer, it is vital to set up your environment so that you can maintain neutral spine. Standing desks, wireless keyboard and mouse, and proper screen position makes a world of difference. Your screen should be just below eye level and arms should be able to relax without the shoulders elevating. Take breaks and stretch and get out of a flexed position. Small 5-10 minute breaks and stretching sessions have proven to be effective in battling neck and back problems.
To the left is a picture of what most of us look like when we are working or browsing the internet. Don't let this be you. Continue to be aware of your habits and think about your grandmother hitting you with a wooden spoon when you were a kid telling you to "Sit up Straight". Poor posture is correctable but it does take effort and dedication. This is not an overnight fix, but spending even a few minutes working on better posture a few times a day can have a significant impact. Working on good habits to take care of the spine and rest of the body is the best way to stay out of pain. If this picture on the left is all to similar to you or someone you know, don't put it off any longer, start improving today. Poor posture and abnormal muscle length/tension relationships aren't always painful, but they do lead to altered movement patterns that will eventually create problems down the road if not corrected. There are many treatments, exercise routines and habits that are beneficial in working weak muscles and stretching tight ones. The first step you can take is to set a timer every 30 minutes while working to take time to work on your posture. The main muscles that become tight with sitting and desk work or driving are the muscle in the front of your chest, the muscles on the back side of your head and neck (the ones that often lead to headaches), and the muscles in the front of the hip. For a free e-book of exercises and stretches to start performing now, message me at firstname.lastname@example.org asking for the posture fix routine or leave your email in the comments below.