It's important to note that if you experience frequent pain in your upper back and neck, you're not alone. In fact, millions of individuals worldwide struggle with upper body discomfort.
The culprit behind this widespread issue can often be attributed to our modern-day lifestyles, which typically involve prolonged periods of sitting in chairs, hunched over laptops or mobile devices.
Even if you have an office job that requires you to stare at a computer screen all day, you can still avoid neck and upper back pain by building healthy habits in your lifestyle.
What’s more important is realizing where your bad habits start to creep in. Noticing when you begin to slouch or when you are straining your neck to look down at your phone is important to prevent these habits from being ingrained in your behaviors.
Here are some of the worst habits that can cause strain on the muscles in your upper back and neck, leading to chronic pain.
Looking Down at Your Phone
Many of us are guilty of staring down at our phone screens all day. Whether you are scrolling through social media, responding to work emails, or playing a random game, it’s easy to let the time slip away when you are preoccupied with your smartphone.
When you are tilting your head down to look at your phone, it causes excess strain to run through the upper spine and neck muscles. Just a 15° forward head tilt causes around 27lbs of pressure on your neck. To reduce this pressure, raise your phone to eye level so that you don’t have to tilt your head.
You Are Sleeping in a Suboptimal Position
You may not give much thought to the way that you sleep. However, you are in bed for around one-third of the day, so it’s important to find a comfortable and muscle-friendly position to sleep in.
The best way to sleep is on your back with a pillow just underneath your knees. Your spine should be neutral and your neck should be in line with the rest of your spine. This position relieves tension and strain through these muscles and joints in your back and neck.
You Have a Poor Desk Posture
When you are concentrating on work, it’s easy to forget about your posture. You can start to slouch, with your shoulders rolling forward and your neck tilting downwards.
Sitting in this hunched-over position for hours every single day can wreak havoc on your neck and back. You might end up with chronic pains and tension in the area.
To optimize your desk posture, elevate your computer screen to eye level so you don’t have to tilt your head downward to look at it.
Get a chair that supports your back from top to bottom and enables you to sit with your knees at a 90° angle and your feet on the floor.
Next Steps to Relieving Your Back Pain
Incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can make a world of difference when it comes to avoiding upper back and neck pain. By recognizing and adjusting bad habits such as looking down at your phone or sitting with poor posture, you can significantly reduce the strain on your muscles and joints.
However, if you are still experiencing pain or discomfort, consider giving our office a call. We can help identify the root cause of your pain and provide effective treatments to alleviate your symptoms.
Don’t let chronic pain hold you back from enjoying your life – make the necessary changes and seek professional help to ensure a pain-free and healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Michael Mighton DC, B.Kin