The truth is, many of our patients injure themselves during unexpected incidences, such as car accidents, work-related injuries, and weird coincidences. We do also see sports-related issues, but most of our patients were participating in everyday activities when their injury occurred. This makes preventing the event that causes the injury pretty difficult when it is so unexpected. However, we can assist patients in neck and back injury prevention. All it takes is a little bit of effort at home…
Stretch Each and Every Day
You don’t have to be an acrobat to get an efficient stretch. In fact, we only recommend simple, everyday stretches that anyone can do in the comfort of their home. Stretching should be done every day, this is one of the best ways to prevent injuries of all kinds (especially in our back and neck). The best time to stretch is after a bath or shower when your body is warmed up. Don’t push yourself too hard. A little discomfort is expected, but any pain is a warning sign to slow down. The key is movement, even if you can only get a little. The more you move, the easier it will get over time! Check out the neck stretches and back exercises that Dr. Halsy recommends for patients.
We understand that our patients aren’t Olympic track athletes and we’re not expecting them to start training for a marathon! When it comes to exercise, it doesn’t have to be a lot. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults should exercise for 150 minutes per week. This equates to just 21 minutes per day of moderately intense exercise, such as a brisk walking, jogging, or swimming. We know that motivating ourselves to work out can be hard. This is why we also recommend working out with friends or family members. It will be more fun and it’s easier to keep ourselves accountable when we have shared goals with people we are close with.
Be Mindful of Your Posture
We can do all the proper stretches and exercises and still experience discomfort if we aren’t mindful of our posture. Many of our patients work in traditional office settings where they sit for hours in the same position at their desk. This may be an efficient set up to get work done, however, it can be detrimental on the patient’s spine. Overtime, stretching and exercise can help limit this by subconsciously improving your posture. Although, the best results come from a simple practice in mindfulness. Check in with your body and how it feels throughout the day. Are you sore? Do you feel any strains, even if they are minor? What position is your body in and is it considered proper posture?
For many patients who experience pain without a specific event or injury, the discomfort is due to bad posture over time. There are several things we recommend you pay attention to.
- Your sitting position in chairs. Are you sitting straight up or are you slouching? Do you lean to one side?
- Your posture while using electronic devices. Are you bending over or slouching to read? Is your neck straining to bend downward? What position are your arms in as you type?
You want to be sure that you are always sitting upright position with proper posture (even while texting). Bad posture is while sitting and using electronic devices are surprisingly some of the main causes of chronic spine pain. It is very common for patients not to realize the state of their posture until they are in pain. The best solution is to check in with your body periodically throughout the day to prevent the pain before it starts.
When it comes to neck and back pain, we may not always be able to prevent the cause of the injury. However, we can proactively stretch and strengthen our muscles to prevent these injures from occurring. It doesn’t take much! If you exercised and stretched daily, it would take you less than 30 minutes for both. Sounds like a simple solution to us! For more information about recommended pain prevention or to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us today!