LIFESTLE related causes can wreak havoc on spinal health. Since the pandemic, many Australians have increased mobile phones usage to scroll on social media, stream content, shop, and to work.
60 degrees of neck flexion can place up to 27kg of weight through the spine, causing an increase in the mid-back curvature, commonly known as ‘tech neck,’ which can create a burden on physical and mental health. 39 percent of Aussies report experiencing neck pain over the last 12 months. The impact of neck issues goes beyond physical symptoms, including sleep loss and mental exhaustion.
The Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) have this advice to help care for your neck health:
20/20 breaks: when using your phone or working, take short 20-second breaks every 20 minutes to stand up, move around and stretch.
Chin tucks: when working or using a phone, do 5-10 chin tucks every hour. Start in a seated position with shoulders relaxed, look straight forward, place finger on the chin and without moving the finger, pull the chin and head straight back until a good stretch is felt at the base of the head and top of the neck. Hold for five seconds if possible and bring the chin forward again back to the finger.
Change how you hold your phone: bring the screen to eye level so your head is not slouched forward or too high. Keep a neutral spine so your ears are in line with the shoulders.
Consider sleeping position and set up: if you are a stomach sleeper and wake up with a sore neck, consider switching to side sleeping.
Ensure your pillow is supportive and the right height for your body size and sleeping position. If you lie mostly on your side, the pillow should keep your neck in a straight position, without tilting. If you lie on your back, the pillow should be thinner, so your head is not pushed forward.
Stay active: include regular walks in your day, for a minimum of five minutes, every hour. If you work out regularly, focus on your core muscles as this helps keep your body stable, balanced, and protects your spine, including the neck.
If you are concerned about your neck health, consider visiting a chiropractor for help. To find your local ACA chiropractor visit: https://www.chiro.org.au/find-a-chiro