Dr Sunil Rama
PREVENTION OF NECK AND BACK PAIN
By Dr Sunil Rama, Chiropractor
The incidence of neck and back pain has increased and is a frequently reported complaint at the doctor’s office amongst the young and elderly. Advances in technology such as the smartphone, laptop devices and other gadgets can be a cause in the younger patient population due to its excessive use. Bad ergonomics at the work station, prolonged driving times in traffic, lack of exercise and arthritis of the spine are massive contributing factors too.
Here are some tips to prevent back and neck pain:
• Maintain good posture. The ear should be in line with the shoulder at all times. Forward head movement causes the neck muscles to work harder and then causes rounding of the shoulders. This position over time may cause biomechanical changes throughout the spine, thus leading to an array of symptoms.
• Ergonomics. When using the computer, ensure that the top of the screen/monitor is in line with the eyes. The mouse pad, telephone and writing pad should all be within reach. The height of the desk and chair should be well adjusted for you so that the shoulders are relaxed when typing or writing. The backrest of the chair is designed to rest your back, so make use of it!
• Exercise. Not having time for it is no excuse! A 20 minute per day cardiovascular workout to the point of sweating and heart racing constitutes as exercise. This can be a brisk walk, jog, cycle or swim. Exercising is proven to prevent backache and generalised pain. This will not only assist in weight loss but may reduce your cholesterol, blood pressure and reduce your chance of becoming a diabetic. Your general well being will be enhanced and sleeping patterns may improve. This can be done around your house, neighbourhood or nearby park or stadium if you have no time to attend the gym. Exercising should be done to your tolerance.
• Stretching. Muscle spasms and joint pain can be relieved with basic stretching. After your hot bath or shower, rotate the shoulders backwards and forwards. Mobilise the neck through its ranges of motion in the morning upon waking up. Knee to chest stretches may reduce and prevent back pain and stiffness. This should be done to your tolerance.
Move the neck forwards and backwards, to the left and right and finally to the sides. Each motion should be done gently and to the count of 25 seconds.
Lie down flat on your back with the neck supported. Gently lift the knee upwards to the opposite shoulder. The back must be relaxed and not bent forwards. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side. Each stretch should be done to the count of 25 seconds.
This stretch is done the same as the one above. Both knees are gently brought upwards towards the shoulders. This stretch should be done to the count of 25 seconds.
For pain that persists and is affecting your daily activities, consult your healthcare professional immediately. For more information or any health query, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org