While no one wants to wake up with a crick in their neck or a dull back ache, it is bound to happen to most of us here and there. While those pains may make you feel your age, it is actually becoming increasingly more common to feel these aches and pains, no matter your age. The reason? More people are using cell phones (can cause neck soreness) and sitting for greater lengths of time (can cause back soreness).
It is estimated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain during their lifetime. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world – preventing people from working and hampering their daily life. And as Americans are sitting more each day, the likelihood of developing back pain is increased.
While not quite as common, neck pain is on the rise, as smartphones can promote poor neck posture, or “text neck.” Many people tend to drop their neck forward when looking at their screen. Not only can this forward drop change the natural curvature of your neck, it can place undo strain on your neck muscles. In fact, for every inch you drop your head forward, you double the load on your neck muscles.
That said, it often can be difficult to point to one specific cause of neck or back pain. It is often the case that there are multiple root causes, like overuse, repetitive movements and poor posture.
Below are some simple steps you can take to help alleviate those annoying aches and pains.
- Don’t tuck your cellphone between your ear and shoulder. Instead try using speakerphone or a headset when chatting on the phone.
- Maintain good posture. When standing or sitting, make sure your shoulders are in a straight line over your hips and your ears are directly over your shoulders. Look in a mirror and see if you can draw a vertical line from your ear to shoulder.
- Look forward when using your mobile device. Instead of tilting your chin down, raise the device up to eye level.
- Make sure your workspace is properly adjusted. Your computer monitor should be at eye level and your knees slightly lower than your hips.
- Build up your core strength. Start incorporating core exercises into your fitness routine, like sit-ups and planks.
If you’re experiencing chronic neck or back pain or it is getting in the way of your daily life, contact your doctor as you may need medical support or it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.