Neck Pain: Could my lifestyle be making it worse?
Updated: Dec 26, 2019
Let me start by telling you a story:
John who is 38 years old overall healthy guy woke up one morning with a stiff & painful right shoulder & upper back; He had not done anything recently to hurt his neck or shoulder or hadn’t been in an accident.
John was hoping that it in a few days this pain & stiffness would go away but unfortunately it didn’t. John was now finding it hard to lift & carry his son around that he used to love to do before; he couldn’t play tennis that well as his strokes were now getting weaker & he was also noticing his symptoms more with driving.
Few months passed by and now the pain was not that bad, nothing John couldn’t live with but his quality of life was gradually declining- he would avoid playing with his son, he stopped playing tennis & missed out on hanging out with his buddies and also started to avoid long drives to see his family & friends!
If this sounds like a story you resonate with, then keep reading this blog post is for YOU. Let me tell you that this story is not as uncommon as you would like to think. Infact, it is becoming fairly common these days!
So what’s happening here? What happened to John, he is a young, active, healthy guy who loves to live his life to the fullest. What caused his symptoms to begin & then progress?
Neck Pain is increasingly becoming a common problem thanks to the digital age. Neck or cervical spine pain can be felt in the neck, across the shoulder blades, shoulder joint and even in the arm or hand depending on the extent or nature of the problem. It could also be the cause of your headaches.
Neck & shoulder pain episodes can easily start without any apparent reason and eventually worsen over time. Usually felt at the end of a long day after staring at your computer screen or your smartphone screen, neck & shoulder pain is on a steady rise.
Sure, shoulder pain could happen in isolation from other factors like frozen shoulders, fall or sports injury but research has shown that the percentage of those is very less. So, in the absence of an apparent trauma, examining your cervical spine or neck for even shoulder problem is becoming the norm for orthopedic assessments.
So let’s dive into one of the most common lifestyle factors that could contribute to your neck & shoulder pain:
As the angle of bending at your neck increases when you are looking down at your smartphone (or flexion) increases, consequently the amount of load on your neck or cervical spine increases.
For Instance, when your neck is straight your head weighs 10-12 pounds average which is the load your neck or cervical spine is carrying. But when your neck is bent down fully that is almost 60 degrees scrolling on that phone screen, the weight of your head now on the neck is 60 lbs average which is almost 6 times its original weight.
So with the modern day addiction to texting, constant E-mails & even our favorite social media, the amount of time we have been spending with our necks in flexion has increased significantly & so has consequent neck & shoulder pain issues. Hey, you are probably reading this article on your smartphone with your neck in flexion, aren’t ya?
Imagine your cervical spine has to now carry 6 times heavier load for several hours in a day, everyday for years. Sure, its gonna start to scream eventually. And do you blame it!
So hope we have clarified some of your understanding about how lifestyle factors could be contributing to our neck & shoulder pain issues even though things seem to be going pretty well on the surface.
Want to learn more?
If you or someone you know experiences this very familiar neck and/or shoulder pain or stiffness, you could request our Free Guide on 5 tips to relieve Neck & Shoulder Pain right here!
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