Text Neck: A Growing Epidemic

Text Neck: A growing epidemic

If you’re reading this text from a hand held device and constantly slouching there is a very high chance that you will get text neck. Text neck is a real epidemic and as the title suggests “a growing syndrome”. The term “Text neck” was coined by a chiropractor Dr Dean L Fisherman in the US, but it is also known as turtle neck posture. It is said that people spend around 5 hours daily viewing their cell phones which leads to different types of aches in the body.

Along with the advancement in technology, there has been an increase of unprecedented nature in the need and use of mobiles. Handheld devices like smart phones, e-readers and computer tablets are seen in almost every household and are used without paying much heed to the consequences. How alarming is the fact that this condition is affecting everyone- from children to adults. The severity of the problem should be determined from the fact that it is not only the cause of neck pain but other multitude of health concerns.

The symptoms:

The symptoms of text neck do not take much long to manifest. The minute you bend your head forward and downward to read from the device and keep repeating this action for a long period of time you make yourself prone to issues in the cervical spine. The bending of neck puts a strain of atleast 27 pounds on our neck. The more the bending of the neck, the greater the strain on the cervical spine which leaves the spine vulnerable to stiffness, pain and sprain leading to repetitive stress syndrome. Following are some serious health implications and symptoms:

Stiff neck:

There is a difficulty encountered in moving the head sideways when neck and cervical spine get stiff and fatigued. This is the resultant of holding your cell phone for too long.

Muscle weakness:

Muscular weakness is another symptom of text neck. Trapezius muscle and shoulder rotator muscle are the most affected and vulnerable.

Headache:

Tension type headaches can result from tightness in the sub-occipital muscle.

Ostheoarthritis:

Cervical spondylosis or early onset of cervical spine osteoarthritis is another health concern associated with text neck.

Damage to lung capacity:
Lung functioning is also undermined as lungs lose the ability to function at optimum.

Disc compression:

Prolonged and unnecessary use of smartphone can also lead to compression of cervical spine inter vertebral discs

Management:

Managing text neck could be easy if due care is taken. Following steps are to be taken for preventing text neck:

  • Avoid excessive use of hand-held devices and take regular breaks in between if required.
  • Position your device such that it places minimum strain on your neck and shoulders
  • Refrain from prolonged typing and holding one device for long.
  • Use pillows which supports neck and spinal alignment.
  • Use icing or heat to give relief to the affected region and use a doctor-prescribed steroid if the pain doesn’t go away.
  • Physiotherapy which includes mobilization and stretching and do regular exercises which include neck rotation and side bending.

Ref: https://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/opinion/text-neck-a-modern-epidemic/

 

Your Back pain and Mattress are Interlinked

Your Back pain and Mattress are Interlinked

Back pain is so common that it is almost an endemic, especially if you lead an active or challenging life. It is also true that finding out the root cause of back pain is almost difficult particularly if there hasn’t been any change which could pass off as a contributing factor. What we all are ignorant about is that the mattress we sleep on determines if our back pain is going to continue next morning or not. Back pain and mattress are synonymous but the concept of good mattress remains alien to us till date. But, if we were to know the cost of this ignorance, we would start acting today.

In today’s world, beds are created keeping the needs of masses in mind. But, does every manufacturer does the same? The answer to this question is no. Therefore, we, as public are forced to choose from options which are already very limited. We all have our personal choices when it comes to mattresses but, there are some essential properties which a good mattress is ought to have if your back is to remain healthy.  Following are the go-to tips for buying a back-friendly mattress:

  • Don’t purchase a mattress which is too firm as it pushes on main pressure points of the spine.
  • Don’t purchase a mattress which is too soft as it leaves your pressure points unsupported.
  • Purchase a mattress which is supportive of your body weight and supports spinal alignment.

There are several aspects of mattress which need to be looked at so that your mattress not only stops adding to your back woes but, aids in getting rid of them. As mentioned above, the mattress needs to be at the optimum level of firmness and softness according to experts at UCLA Medical Center so that the ache does not degenerate and become a chronic issue.

Sleep and its pattern should be assessed so that it can be determined mattress is to be replaced or not. Observe the way your partner sleeps and look for signs that indicate a red flag:

  • Waking up frequently during the night with no obvious reason.
  • Tossing and turning and waking up lethargic the next morning.
  • The back pain does not go away even after 15-30 minutes of waking up.
  • The mattress is flat and does not compliment your curves.
  • There is increased pressure felt on certain parts of your body only.
  • When body sinks into the bed and causes misalignment.

Experts say that one should get a new mattress after every 8-10 years and preferably a medium-to- firm mattress as it will keep the back-pain at bay.

Ref: https://www.thejoint.com/california/seal-beach/seal-beach-31037/how-to-tell-if-your-mattress-is-causing-you-back-p

https://www.sleepadvisor.org/mattress-cause-back-pain/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Understanding your Spine can improve your Sleep & Health

How Understanding your Spine can improve your Sleep & Health

The back is one of the most important elements of the body; in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you must look after your back.

Since back pain affects 8 out of 10 people in a lifetime, it is important that one takes measures to relieve some of the symptoms and improve their health. People tend to forget the spine is part of the central nervous system, along with the brain, and relies on the peripheral nervous system: the millions of nerves that send messages to the brain that control the body’s functions. An unhealthy spine interferes with this entire system, causing a host of unwelcome health issues such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs, impaired breathing and digestion and impaired control of the bowel and bladder.

Here are a few tips to help you take better care of your spine and back:

1. Pay attention to how and how long you sleep:

Studies suggest that insufficient sleep is associated with increased neck and back problems. It is important to get a sufficient amount (between six and eight hours) and of course, to sleep in a position that enables the spine to relax. The ideal position is on your side, as that puts the least amount of pressure on the spine.

You should also create a proper sanctuary for sleep, choosing a suitable mattress and pillow for comfort, eliminating all outdoor light and providing fresh cool air. Avoid interacting with any electronic devices at bedtime.

2. Good Posture is Essential:

Remember your mother saying “Stop slouching”? You would think it goes without saying, but too many of us simply don’t maintain good posture, which is critical for a healthy spine. Your smartphone is a pain in the neck: Good posture is defined as ears aligned with the shoulders and the “angel wings,” or the shoulder blades, retracted. In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position to achieve the best posture possible.

3. Deep belly breathing can improve your posture:

Place your hands on your abdominal area and feel your belly move as you inhale and exhale. Do this as many times a day as possible to improve your posture and overall spinal health. Deep belly breathing enables the spinal nerves to move within the spinal channels, diminishing pain and providing a sense of well-being.

4. Targeted simple exercises can strengthen your core and joints:

Exercise is therapeutic. Just 10 minutes per day is all you need to perform some simple spine-strengthening exercises. Neck stretches, including bending and extension range-of-motion exercises, are just a series of simple side-to-side, up-and-down and ear-to-shoulder stretches that can dramatically improve the health of the cervical spine.

5. A Quality Mattress:

A quality mattress is among the most important pieces of furniture in your home (if not the most important), but buying a mattress can be tough.  A good mattress is good for your spine. Instead of reducing the back problems, an uncomfortable mattress can elevate it, or even make it chronic by nature. A good mattress acts as a rescue to all these problems, hence it’s advised to invest in the best one for your health.
Ref:
https://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/01/health/hansraj-spine/index.html
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/understanding-and-improving-core-strength-2018090414662
https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4460

Sleep Hygiene and Back Pain

Give Your Spine a Good Night’s Rest

Sleep. It’s one of the most natural and nurturing human activities, and it’s something we all require to keep our minds and bodies functioning properly. But did you know you can actually sleep the WRONG way? Think about the last time you awoke with a stiff neck after lying in an awkward position. Or maybe your back started hurting the second you got up for work. Whether you aggravated an old injury or created a new one, it happened when you weren’t even conscious!

The truth is, each of us can benefit by following certain “sleep strategies” that minimize the pressure on our spinal column while we’re at rest. This starts with learning the proper way to get into and out of bed so as to reduce unnecessary twisting of the spine.

Getting Into Bed

Obviously, if you’re prone to chronic back or neck pain, or if you’re trying to recover from a recent back injury, having a good mattress is a key to your comfort.

That said, even the best mattress can’t keep you from straining a muscle when you’re getting into or out of bed. That’s why we recommend the “log roll” sequence, especially for those just recovering from a back injury. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First, sit on the edge of the bed and use your arms to slowly lower your body down onto your side while bringing your legs and feet onto the bed.
  2. Roll onto your back while keeping your back and hips in line. Avoid twisting your back by tightening your abdominal muscles.
  3. To get up, slowly roll onto your side and slide your legs off the side of the bed. Be sure to keep your abdominal muscles tight.
  4. With your elbow and hand, push into the mattress and lift up into a sitting position.

Sleeping on Your Side

If you prefer lying on your side, it’s important to keep your hips and neck in alignment. Here’s how.

  1. Use the log roll sequence to get into bed.
  2. Place a medium-sized pillow under your head so your head and body are raised by the same amount.
  3. If needed, place a small towel roll in the curve of your neck.
  4. Place a thin- to medium-sized pillow between your knees to help support your lower back.

For Stomach Sleepers

In general, it’s not very wise to sleep on your stomach because of the strain that this position puts on your back and neck. But if this is the only way you’re able to sleep, you can reduce the pressure on your spinal column this way.

  1. Start the logroll sequence and use your arms to lower your body down on your stomach while lifting your legs onto the bed.
  2. Use a very thin pillow or no pillow under your head to keep your neck in line with your body.
  3. Place a thin or medium-size pillow under your stomach and pelvic region to help keep your spine in a neutral position.
  4. Bring one leg to your side and slightly bend it. Place a medium pillow underneath your knee to relieve pressure on your lower back.

Make the association between “bed” and “sleep” really strong

Your body learns to make associations all the time. We notice that our mouths salivate when we smell our favourite food cooking. We have learnt that soon after smelling food, we will get to eat it. We want to build up the association between bed and sleep, NOT bed and other activities, or bed and stressing about not sleeping, or bed and pain.

  • Only use the bed for sleeping no reading books, watching tv, resting (Find somewhere other than the bedroom to rest during the day)
  • That also means no tossing and turning in bed feeling frustrated about being awake.
  • If it has been more than 20 mins (roughly) and you have not fallen asleep, get out of bed and do a quiet (non-stimulating) activity, until you feel sleepy and try again.

By practicing the proper “sleep hygiene” as outlined above, you can avoid unnecessary back and neck pain and help your body heal after an injury. But if nothing works to alleviate your pain, be sure to consult a professional.

Ref:
http://www.thespinehealthinstitute.com/news-room/health-blog-news/sleep-hygiene-and-back-pain
https://www.tuck.com/pain-and-sleep/
https://painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au/pain-module/sleep-and-pain/

5 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

5 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

Not only can lower back pain get in the way of a good night’s rest, but poor sleeping posture may make the existing pain worse.

A poor sleeping position may even be the underlying cause of lower back pain. This is because certain positions can place unnecessary pressure on the neck, hips, and back.

It is important to maintain the natural curve of the spine when lying in bed. A person can do this by ensuring the head, shoulders, and hips are in alignment, and that the back is properly supported. The best way to do this is usually by sleeping on the back.

However, many people are uncomfortable sleeping on their back or find it causes them to snore. Everyone sleeps differently, so there is a variety of options for people who want to sleep better and reduce their back pain.For people experiencing lower back pain at night, trying out the following postures and tips may provide relief.

1. Sleeping on the back with knee support

Lying on the back is usually considered to be the best sleeping position for a healthy back.This position evenly distributes weight the full length of the body’s largest surface. It also minimizes pressure points and ensures good alignment of the head, neck, and spine. Placing a small pillow under the knees can provide additional support and help maintain the natural curve of the spine.

To adopt this sleeping position, a person should:

• Lie flat on their back facing the ceiling, and avoid twisting the head sideways.
• Position a pillow to support the head and neck.
• Place a small pillow under the knees.
• For extra support, fill in any other gaps between the body and mattress with additional pillows, such as beneath the lower back.

2. Sleeping on the side with a pillow between the knees

Although lying on the side is a popular and comfortable sleeping position, it can pull the spine out of position. This can strain the lower back.
Correcting this is easy. Anyone who sleeps on their side can simply place a firm pillow between their knees. This raises the upper leg, which restores the natural alignment of the hips, pelvis, and spine.

To adopt this sleeping position, a person should:

• Get into bed and carefully roll on to one side.
• Position a pillow to support the head and neck.
• Pull the knees up slightly then place a pillow between them.
• For extra support, fill in any gaps between the body and mattress with more pillows, especially at the waist.

People who habitually turn to sleep on their front may also want to try hugging a large pillow against their chest and stomach to aid sleep and keep their back aligned.

3. Sleeping in the fetal position

For people with a herniated disc, adopting a curled-up fetal position may bring relief during the night. This is because lying on the side with the knees tucked into the chest reduces bending of the spine and helps open up the joints.

To adopt this sleeping position, a person should:
• Get into bed and carefully roll on to one side.
• Position a pillow to support the head and neck.
• Draw the knees up towards the chest until the back is relatively straight.

4. Sleeping on the front with pillow under the stomach

Lying on the front of the body is usually considered the worst sleeping posture. However, for those who struggle to sleep in another position, placing a slim pillow underneath the stomach and hips can help improve spinal alignment.

Sleeping on the front may also benefit people with a herniated disc or a degenerative disc disease.

To adopt this sleeping position, a person should:
• Get into bed and roll on to their front.
• Place a slim pillow underneath the abdomen and hips to raise the mid- section.
• Use a flat pillow for the head or consider sleeping without one.

5. Sleeping on the front with the head face down

Another reason sleeping on the front is considered bad is because the head is usually turned to one side. This twists the spine and places additional stress on the neck, shoulders, and back.

To avoid this, try lying face down. A small but firm pillow or tightly rolled-up towel can be used to prop up the forehead, allowing room to breathe. This should be done in addition to placing a pillow under the stomach.

To adopt this sleeping position, a person should:
• Get into bed and roll onto their front.
• Place a slim pillow underneath the abdomen and hips to raise the mid-section.
• Position a pillow or rolled-up towel under the forehead to create adequate breathing space between the mouth and mattress.

Ref: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320870.php