Habits that are Hurting your Neck
- Posted on: May 15 2016
If you were asked, you would very likely say you would do all that you could to avoid a neck injury. Most of us would! The idea of chronic pain, headaches, and other uncomfortable symptoms is nothing but unpleasant. What you may not know is just how much some of your daily habits may be hurting your neck. When our daily habits add up over years, they can very easily translate into chronic head and neck pain. Here, we will look at 3 common habits that you want to avoid.
Years ago, young people were taught about proper posture by being instructed to “sit up straight.” Some even practiced postural stance by walking with a book on their head. Today, all of that teaching has gone out the window. Children, teens, and adults all spend time on digital devices; so much so that there is a condition referred to as “text neck.”
The forward and downward posture of reading a laptop or phone screen places excessive pressure on the cervical vertebrae, those that support the head. Although the actions themselves are small, they add up to sore muscles, at the very least. At worst, poor head and neck posture can increase the risk of arthritis in the neck.
As if there were not enough insights into the dangers of nicotine and smoking, a recent study gives us even more reason to stop this habit. Emory University researcher Dr. Michael Leavitt found a significant side effect to smoking: the acceleration of spinal degeneration. Interestingly, his study showed a direct correlation between nicotine and the cervical spine. Here, the discs are nourished via tiny blood vessels. Due to the vascular consequences of smoking and nicotine, these vessels become damaged and cannot deliver oxygen-rich blood to these discs. As discs gradually break down, they cannot absorb the force of pressure as they should, and chronic pain may develop.
Experts have encouraged us to sleep on our side or back for years. This is because stomach-sleeping forces the neck into an awkward sideways angle. At the same time, cervical vertebrae are placed under greater stress. To reduce this stress, sleep without a pillow. Better yet, learn to sleep on your side or back.
San Francisco Spine Surgeons provides extensive care for neck injuries. To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions, call 415-750-5570.
Posted in: Neck Pain