You’ve heard the saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Are you willing to do the little adjustments in life to affect your positively affect your health or pain problem? My next series of blog posts will be called ‘Self-Defense Tips’ for different parts of the body. But don’t just read them…APPLY IT! Today, I give 8 tips to defend against developing chronic neck pain.
- Don’t tilt you head down when you read. Don’t adjust your head position to the material, adjust the material to you. Try to keep your head in a neutral position. One of my chiropractic patients recently said to me…”Who actually does that??”. And he’s right, most people don’t and that’s the point! We’ve all developed bad habits since our childhood and it take a conscious effort to reprogram our brain and body.
- When you watch TV at home, make sure that your couch or chair is directly facing the TV. Most of the time, we arrange our furniture to make the room look nice but is functionally terrible! Can you imagine going to the theatre and watching a 2 hour movie with your head cranked to the left because the screen wasn’t directly in front of you? You’ll need to see your chiropractor immediately the next day!
- When travelling by plane or train, bring a small pillow for better neck support. You’ve seen these passengers. You probably were one at some point! Head is down to their chest or extended backward with their mouths open (and drooling). Embarrasing….AND bad for your neck.
- Don’t sleep on your stomach; stick with lying on your side or on your back. If you have been doing it all your life and you feel there is absolutely no way you can change your habits, at least alternate the side that you turn your neck to. Also your pillow should support your head and keep it in neutral alignment.
- Don’t bend your neck down to look at your keyboard. I think laptop computers and the advent of smartphones and iPads are going to keep chiropractors in business for many years to come!
- Set up your computer monitor so that you can look at it without tilting your head up or down. Typically, most people have their monitors too low on their desk. A good rule of thumb is to have the top frame of the monitor at eye-level. You can put a few books or an old Yellow Pages directory under the monitor to prop it up.
- If you spend a lot of time on the telephone or cellphone, invest in a headset. Do not cradle the phone receiver between your ear and your shoulder. You’re just asking for neck pain or cramps.
- Take frequent, short work breaks. Yes, I know that some of you have tons of work to do or get really in the zone and hate breaking your concentration. But these breaks will pay huge dividends to your mental and physical health. Move around to get the blood flowing. Performing a few head circles or rolling your shoulders is a good start.