Did you know that eight in 10 people will experience back pain at some time during their life? Neck pain is also common. In fact, it ranks as one of the top five disorders in the U.S. Just because back and neck pain occurs frequently, though, doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. There are plenty of things you can do in your personal life to take preventive action. You don’t need fancy equipment or lots of money, either. Minor adjustments to your daily routine can make all the difference.
1.) Stay off your smartphone. Americans love their smartphones. From reading the news and watching YouTube videos to texting with friends and family, there’s no shortage of things you can do with your mobile device. Although smartphones have made our lives incredibly convenient, they also cause you to look down, putting pounds of additional pressure on your cervical spine. Try and minimize your phone use to just 30 minutes per day. If it makes things easier, leave your phone in a drawer or in another room. This small step can improve your posture and ease neck pain significantly.
2.) Adjust your headrest. Do you tend to slouch when you’re driving? It might seem comfortable, but poor posture increases your risk of common back and neck problems, including herniated discs and muscle strains. Your headrest is there for a reason. Adjust it so it’s directly behind your head. Then, when you’re driving, try and practice good posture by keeping your earlobes directly above your shoulders.
3.) Stretch every day. Think stretching is just for warming up and cooling down? Think again! Regular stretching is a great way to encourage circulation, ease inflammation and promote mobility. You don’t have to do a yoga routine, either. Set aside 10 minutes each morning to stretch your arms, legs and neck. You’ll notice improvements to your range of motion and general flexibility in no time.
4.) Stay active. Many Americans spend the majority of their workdays sitting at a desk. If you’re one of them, make sure to take frequent breaks, preferably once every hour. You should also set aside several days a week for exercise. If you aren’t someone who enjoys the gym, go for a long walk or bike ride. The key is movement. When you move your body, you increase circulation, get your heart rate up and take the pressure off your joints and spine.
These four simple practices can significantly lower your risk of back and neck pain and improve your quality of life. To complement these efforts, make sure to incorporate regular visits to your doctor of chiropractic, too.