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Looking beyond neck pain

How looking down can strain your neck

A recent survey by Commonsense Media in the US, found that adults spend more than 9 hours per day, on average, in front of a screen, much of which was for personal use. Take that statistic with a pinch of salt if you wish, but there’s no question that adults spend an awful lot of time looking down at their phones, iPads or computers.

And it’s not a position that the human body was designed to hold for long periods of time. No doubt evolution will come up with a response in due course, but it will probably come too late for us. Unfortunately that means we’ll have to continue craning our necks over backlit screens for hours on end, and suffering the pain the following day as our muscles complain about the work they had to do.

What happens to our neck when our head moves forward?

Slight changes in our head position can place a considerable amount of extra stress on our necks.  The human head weighs around 5kg – about the same as an adult bowling ball, so it takes a considerable amount of effort to support your neck.  Even slight forward movement of your head can cause big changes in the amount of muscle tension required to support your your neck; in fact,  the amount of tension in your neck muscles doubles for every 2-3cm that your head moves forward.

What can you do to reduce neck strain?

It all gets back to how you sit and how long you sit for.  Sitting at an ergonomically correct desk and chair that has been specifically adjusted to suit your body will greatly reduce your need for leaning forward.  Taking regular breaks and moving or stretching your neck and shoulders will decrease muscle tightness and fatigue.

Can Osteopathy help your neck pain?

Statistically, half of us will suffer with neck pain during our lives. Most of it is caused by poor posture, overuse or trauma. So when all that screen time finally catches up with you, give an osteopath a call. At Relinque Sports and Spinal Group, it’s our business to get you moving freely again.

When you come in for your first session, we’ll take a complete history. We’ll perform a comprehensive assessment. And then we’ll give you a diagnosis—at which point we’ll start work on relieving your pain. And we’ll show you some exercises to help strengthen your neck.

So if your body is protesting, call us on 03 9499 9644 or pop in and see us. Just try not to check your phone in the waiting room!

One Comment

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