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Three tips to stand up straighter with less discomfort

New Year's Resolutions

By: Devin Wurman, DPT

These days, more people are working sedentary jobs at a desk and/or using mobile technology for their day to day communications. Think about how you sit when you do these things. How is your posture? It’s so easy for us to slip into a poor posture when we’re mindlessly reading emails or sending texts. The problem is that these poor postures are a direct cause of neck discomfort. Neck pain is no longer an ‘adult issue.’ At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we also see a lot of youth complaining of neck discomfort. The number of 16-24-year-olds complaining of neck pain has risen from 28 to 45 percent. That’s just in the last two years!

People of all ages need to be more aware of their postures at work and at home. What happens to your neck when you sit on a computer or use a smartphone or iPad for too long? Think about this: for every inch that your head is tilted forward, there is twice the amount of pressure being placed through your spine. Forward head posture can place unnecessary strain on your neck muscles and even cause disc protrusions and pinched nerves. These conditions result in increased pain in the back of your neck, headaches and even nerve symptoms such as numbness and tingling radiating down your arms.

You can see that when neck discomfort isn’t handled right away, there is a trickle down effect. There are some simple adjustments you can make in your daily life to prevent neck problems.

  • Break up the time you sit in one position for a prolonged period of time, especially when your spine isn’t in proper alignment.
  • If you are on the computer for work for multiple hours a day, get up at least every 20-30 minutes and go for a short walk. This goes for anyone who spends a lot of time on their electronic devices at work or home.
  • If you sit at a desk, make sure your back is supported, keep your computer monitor at eye level and place your feet flat on the ground.

Other ways to prevent neck pain include stretching out the muscles in your chest. Perform shoulder blade squeezes throughout the day. Be aware of your head position when you sit too. The longer you sit, the more tired your muscles get and the more your posture will slouch.

If you are experiencing neck pain that won’t seem to go away, CALL LSTC at 703-450-4300! Physical therapy is a very effective treatment method to relieve neck pain, which can help improve joint mobility and posture. We can teach you the proper stretches, strengthening exercises, and ergonomic assessment to help reduce symptoms and prevent serious injury. Physical therapy can also help decrease muscle tightness and improve cervical stability which all in turn help decrease pain and inflammation. With physical therapy intervention, it can help restore your quality of life and return you to your prior level of function.

CLICK HERE for some postural exercises and stretches to help alleviate neck pain. 

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