I was recently asked this question, along with another regarding exercises to try when sitting at a desk for many hours a day. The two questions are linked so I will answer them both together as one blog post here.
The first thing to realize with back and neck pain is that the majority of the time both conditions are related to gravity and poor posture. At a desk, neck problems are prevalent and they can also cause issues in the lower back as well. Why? Because of our posture. At a desk, we are more inclined to lean with the head tilted forwards and the head pushed forward as well. The natural and proper posture should be to sit up straight with head up, which means the monitor should be at eye level. The effects of gravity in this position are minimal and everything is good.
The problem comes when hunched forwards. If your head is tilted 60 degrees, it adds an additional 60lbs of weight which the neck muscles are going to have to bear. This means the neck muscles overwork, they contract and tighten. The joints in the spine compress and friction builds up creating scar tissue and inflammation. Inflammation means pain. These issues in the upper back and neck also have a trickle down effect on the other parts of the spine. With muscles and joints working and being compressed unnaturally at the upper areas, the rest of the spine may need to compensate and muscles there may have to do more work in different ways to support the back too. As one part of the body is out of balance, other parts may also feel this.
So we have to prevent this. We can do this by sitting in the proper position and keeping our body straight upright. This of course does mean some discomfort for a while because your body is more conditioned to being hunched forwards. It may take some time to retrain yourself, but it is for the best. So if you catch yourself hunching forwards, correct your posture immediately.
Secondly, take some regular breaks. Get up from your desk and walk around every half an hour or so. Do some stretches and try to counteract the effects.
And this brings us onto the second point, exercises and stretches you can do. We have some great exercises you can watch and try here. Try doing some of them daily to help with your condition.
Inversion tables are also great to use and can be picked up for less than $100 on Amazon. 20 minutes upside down will traction your back and enable your joints to decompress.
You can also try ice packs and foam rollers as well to help decompress your joints. Yoga is fantastic to do too.
Ultimately, chiropractic care will help the most and this along with some or all of the above will really improve your condition. Chiropractic care for back and neck pain is one of the best treatment options and along with proper preventative measures can make a huge difference to your pain. Moreover, with chiropractic care, we look at the body as a whole, so while we will treat the problem area, we will also treat other parts of the body to help potential issues there and to correct anything out of balance. It’s a whole body chiropractic treatment.
We are walk in friendly, we don’t offer long term treatment plans but we absolutely will help you. Even if your condition is too bad for us to treat, we will help you find the right treatment options for you. Message us on Facebook or call us, or just walk in and we’ll be there for you.