This last year has created many problems within the world, but one issue that has been on the rise has been a huge rise in the incidence of neck and upper back issues. We have seen many people coming in as a result of their work from home set up. Within our community a vast amount of people were forced to work from home. What seemed to be temporary in the beginning has been carrying on for about a year now. Many people that are coming in are still working at their kitchen tables with a laptop and never thought it was necessary to invest in their at home workstation. It’s no wonder why neck problems have been on the rise. One only needs to look at the posture of the individual working from their table. Head is forward, shoulders rolled forward, upper back is hunched and arms are up higher than the recommended 90 degree angle. These bio-mechanical deficiencies are wreaking havoc within the spine that people will not only feel in the short term but will suffer as a result in the long term as well. These constant stresses on the spine add up over the years and will contribute to advancing osteoarthritis which in turn will cause increased pain and loss of mobility. Many people will attribute osteoarthritis to old age, however, if you take care of your spine it has the chance to age gracefully and decrease the incidence of arthritis. If you want to ensure your spine ages gracefully you need to take care of it today.
What Should You Change?
The first thing that you need to change in taking care of your spine is to have an ergonomically correct workstation to minimize the daily stresses of work. If your work doesn’t cover the expense of setting up a correct workstation there are many inexpensive methods to decrease the stress and strain and honestly, isn’t your health worth the time and money setting up the ideal work space?
The second thing to do in managing your spinal health is to ensure that you are getting a variety of movements. Don’t sit at your workstation for 8 hours a day and not take breaks. Ensure that you are breaking every 30 mins for a quick 1 min stretch break. Movement is literally nutrition for the body. Feed your body properly by moving at regular intervals.
The last thing to be aware of is to ensure you’re not adding to your neck and upper back issues by having your head down looking at your device for extended periods of time. This is another problem that existed prior to the pandemic that we saw on a regular basis and has been referred to as text neck. The coupling of text neck and horrendous work stations has created this pandemic neck problem.