Understanding the Link and How to Fix It
If you ignored your mother’s reminders to sit or stand up straight, you may have set yourself up for neck and shoulder pain caused by poor posture.
Chances are, your use of technology–a tablet, laptop, or smartphone, in lieu of desktop computers, has also contributed to the issue. It’s not the technology itself that’s the problem, but rather the extended periods of sitting and the positions we contort ourselves into while using these devices.
Posture refers to the way we hold our bodies when standing, sitting, or lying down. Proper neck posture is typically characterized by the alignment of the ears directly above the shoulders, with the chest open and shoulders pulled back. This neutral position, also known as normal head posture, helps to minimize stress on the neck by maintaining the natural balance of the head’s weight on the cervical spine.
In contrast, when the neck slants forward and the head is positioned further in front of the shoulders, this is known as forward head posture. When our posture is poor, it puts extra strain on our muscles and joints, leading to pain and discomfort.
The good news is that improving your posture is a simple and effective way to reduce neck pain and prevent it from recurring in the future.
Here are some tips to help you quit your chronic slouching and avoid neck pain:
Keep your shoulders relaxed: Many people hunch their shoulders up when they are stressed or tired, which can cause tension in the neck and shoulders. To prevent this, try to keep your shoulders relaxed and down, away from your ears. This will help to reduce tension in your neck and shoulders and improve your overall posture.
Sit up straight: We hate to sound like your mom, but she was right. When sitting, it is important to maintain good posture to prevent neck pain. Sit up straight with your back against the chair, and make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs, as this can put additional strain on your back and neck.
Use a supportive chair: Sitting in a chair that is comfortable and supportive is essential for maintaining good posture. Choose a chair that provides good lumbar support and allows you to sit with your feet flat on the ground. If your chair is too low, use a footrest to elevate your feet.
Keep your computer at eye level: If you work at a computer, it is important to position your monitor at eye level. This will help to prevent neck strain and reduce eye fatigue. Use a monitor stand or adjustable arm to position your monitor correctly.
Take breaks: It is important to take frequent breaks when sitting for long periods of time. Stand up, stretch, and walk around to prevent muscle stiffness and reduce tension in your neck and shoulders.
Use a supportive pillow: Your pillow can have a big impact on your posture while sleeping. Use a pillow that provides good support for your neck and keeps your spine aligned. Avoid using pillows that are too high or too flat, as these can cause neck strain and lead to pain.
Strengthen your core: A strong core can help to support good posture and reduce neck pain. Incorporate exercises that target your back and abdominal muscles into your daily routine, such as planks, bridges, and bird dogs.
While there is no quick fix for poor posture, making a conscious effort to improve your posture using these tips will eventually result in positive changes. It may take some time to adjust to these new habits, but the benefits are well worth the effort. You can reduce neck pain and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
If you are experiencing persistent or severe neck pain, book an appointment with the Cianci Chiropractic team. We can help you determine the underlying cause of your pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan.