If you experience chronic neck or upper back pain, you need to be seen by a cervical spine specialist in New Jersey who will determine the cause of your problem and provide you with a variety of treatment options. But if your situation is less of a constant, then there’s a chance that you can make some easy lifestyle changes that will eliminate them entirely. We tend to underestimate the amount of stress that we put on our backs – especially our upper back and neck – and often fail to give it the support that it needs, or overtax it unknowingly.
When our necks or upper backs are strained, we get a clear message – in the form of pain – telling us that we’ve asked too much. The solution is to address and stop the activities that create the problem. Here are 5 common culprits that have easy fixes:
1. Poor workplace ergonomics – Did you know that back pain is the most common job-related injury? Whether you work in a cubicle or spend your time lifting boxes or operating heavy equipment, an overwhelming number of back pain complaints are a result of either poor posture or incorrect lifting mechanics. If you work at a desk job, pay attention to your posture and make sure that your computer screen is at a level where you don’t have to look down to see it, and if you’re in a job that requires lifting, make sure that you bend at the knees and use your legs to power your lift.
2. Imbalance in body strength – Too many of us spend our workout times working on boosting endurance and cardiac strength, but not enough time strengthening our bodies – and especially the muscles that support our back and neck. Make sure that when you’re at the gym, you are giving proper attention to your core and the muscles that support your posture.
3. Carrying a heavy bag – Whether you’re carrying a briefcase, a purse or a suitcase, the weight that you’re putting on a single shoulder is putting stress on your upper back, neck and shoulders. Try to keep the weight of any bag that you carry to less than 20 percent of your own body weight, and if at all possible put it in a carrier that spreads the weight evenly instead of on one shoulder. Worst case scenario, make sure that you’re shifting it from one side to the other regularly.
4. Cigarette smoking – You know that smoking is bad for you, but did you know that in addition to the damage it does to your lungs, heart, and skin, it also impacts your muscles and joints? It also makes it harder for you to heal. End the damage and stop smoking. Doing so will put you back on the road to health.
5. Stress – This can’t be news to you. The more stress you feel, the more your muscles tense up and the more prone you are to pain. Add some stress relieving activities to your daily schedule. Yoga, mindful meditation, and exercise are all good answers.
If your neck pain is a constant, you need more than these quick fixes. Contact our cervical spine specialty practice in New Jersey today and put yourself on the path to recovery.