The easiest thing you can do for your spinal health is sit up tall. It seems so simple, yet it is the number one thing I have to remind patients of when they are in my office. Heck, it is the number one thing that I have to remind myself of on a daily basis. I figure if you are slouching in my office, a chiropractic office, you are definitely doing it at home. The most difficult thing about sitting up straight is remembering to do it. We must have a conscious awareness of checking on it periodically throughout the day.
For this first blog in this series, I am going to discuss the cervical spine (aka the neck).
There is no way around it, electronic devices have become a consistent part of our lives. They are usually hand-held and without argument cause us to look down for a large part of our day. This is unless we make an effort to change the way we hold them or reduce the amount of time we use them. This is an absolute must. The first thing to address is reducing the number of hours you spend on your phone in a day. The beauty of most phones is they keep track of this number for you!
The apps that seem to “suck us in” the most are those that involve short videos. If you are going to be on one of these apps, set a timer so you don’t lose track of time. The next step is to try and hold your phone up in front of your face when you use it, instead of looking down. Yes, it will feel weird and yes, you will look weird, but do it anyway! You will thank yourself later!
(((Skip the next paragraph to the bottom line or continue reading if you want to be hit with some of that famous 'Dr. Cindy overeducation')))
When our curve reverses the structures that are meant to take the load of our neck are in a tension position and the weight is distributed forward causing an increase in disc pressure and a decrease in activation of the muscle meant to stabilize the neck.
What does this mean to you?
It means you are wearing down your neck faster, altering biomechanics of your neck, and causing tension and/or pressure on nerve tissue.
What does this manifest as?
Well, most commonly, headaches, constant neck pain, and/or numbness/tingling or pain into the arms. It can also lead to alterations in breathing patterns and even vertigo. If this incorrect distribution of force is not corrected, the process of degeneration will be sped up in the neck. Degeneration in the neck is a process that involves bulging of disc material, loss of disc height, increase in fibrosus of ligament tissue, bone spurring and even cyst formation. There will be a loss of range of motion and an increase in pain, not only in the neck, but other areas.
Bottom line…Sit up tall and stop looking down.
As always ‘DO YOUR STRETCHES’,
Cynthia VanSickler, DC, CCSP, Cert. MDT