World Spine Day 2020: 5 Ways To Prevent Spinal Issues Like Tech Neck Syndrome
World Spine Day 2020: Take intermittent breaks from work and flex. Constant shift in the sitting position will help ensure there's less pressure on one particular area and the strain will be migrated to different tissues.
World Spine Day: Young adults are most susceptive to Tech Neck Syndrome
- Work from home has resulted in increased in screen time
- It can cause neck and back pain
- Use the right pillow and a medium firm mattress for muscle relaxation
World Spine Day 2020: This day is observed on October 16 every year. It is meant to raise awareness on spinal pain and other issues related to the spine, and how can one prevent or treat them. In this article, we are going to talk about neck pain because of increased screen time, especially during work from home. Almost of all of us have their heads down, necks craned forward and shoulders rounded, as we stare at our screens for several hours at a stretch. Checking of mails, texts, flicking through our all-consuming social media accounts round the clock and forcing our necks into an unnatural forward curve. Repetitive stress in this 'forward head' posture repeated hour after hour, day after day, may change the very basic structure of the neck - irreversibly if one isn't careful enough. 'Tech Neck Syndrome' seems to be raising, or more aptly, lowering its lethal head.
World Spine Day: What you need to know about cervical spine
The cervical spine or the neck consists of seven small vertebrae situated right at the top of the spinal column. These vertebrae help in movement of the head while bearing the weight of 5-6 kgs of the head. The weight of the head increases substantially for every inch we move. Glance down at the phone and it weighs 12 kgs; bend the neck 45 degrees and it shoots up to a whooping 22 kgs! The cervical spine, shoulders and back need to support this weight.
Work from home and its effect on the spine
With work from home becoming the new norm, young adults are most susceptive to Tech Neck Syndrome. Not everyone is lucky enough to own an ergonomic setup at home and most have taken to sprawling on the bed and sofa or using the dining table. Any pain stemming from these awkward positions is brushed away as a mild annoyance not knowing that this could manifest as a problem to the whole body. The way people cope with the strain is to sleep it out and ignore any red flags like fatigue or stiffness, without realising that the tank is filling up. One day the tank brims and that's when they panic. What starts as a muscle strain, can lead to more complicated issues such as slipped disc or herniated disc or pinched nerve.
World Spine Day: How to prevent spinal issues and tech neck syndrome
1. Apart from work, utility of devices needs to be minimal. Swap as much work as possible from the mobile to the laptop. Increase the font size on the computer and adjust the height of the computer to ensure it's at eye level.
2. Take intermittent breaks and flex. Constant shift in the sitting position will help ensure there's less pressure on one particular area and the strain will be migrated to different tissues.
3. Maintain mental and physical balance. Relax, practice rhythmic deep breathing and shoulder shrugs. Make appropriate, known stretches and don't attempt something that is not friendly for day-to-day requirements. For difficult stretches, take guidance before beginning.
4. Use the right pillow and a medium firm mattress to promote better sleep and muscle relaxation.
5. Physical therapies and external application such as alternating cold and hot packs in the affected area works better for muscle correction.
(Vijay Sarvotham, Native Non-Invasive Spine Care Specialist & Entrepreneur)
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