Once back and neck pain appear, they can quickly turn into a chronic problem. The best way to avoid the debilitating effects of spine-related pain is to follow a plan that keeps your back strong and prevents problems from developing.
At Prolete Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, our team specializes in comprehensive back and neck care. We begin with a thorough evaluation and create an individualized program of exercise and specialized training to maintain your spine strength, posture, and balance.
If you need help creating your back and neck pain prevention program, don’t hesitate to call. In the meantime, here are some tips to get you started.
Strengthen your back and neck
Your spine endures considerable stress because it supports your body and provides full mobility. This combination of weight and movement can lead to painful injuries and degenerative changes in your back and neck.
The best way to prevent pain is to keep the supporting muscles strong and healthy. An exercise program that targets your core muscles is the key to supporting your back. You’ll need to follow a different group of gentle exercises to strengthen your neck.
If you have back or neck pain, or if you have a history of spine problems, it’s important to consult a physical therapist before you start exercising. We thoroughly evaluate your back and neck, identify problem areas, and create a customized exercise plan that supports your spine without risking further harm.
Evaluate your ergonomics
Poor ergonomics is a top cause of back and neck pain. When you spend a lot of time working at a computer or using other electronics, it’s essential to keep your body in a neutral position.
A neutral body position reduces the stress of repetitive activities on your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It’s easy to strain your neck when you work with your head bent down while looking at a monitor or smartphone, for example.
When you keep these devices at eye level, you hold your head straight up, with your ears over your shoulders. This keeps your neck in a neutral position and spares it from supporting the amplified weight caused by bending your head.
Use proper lifting technique
Ergonomics also protects your back when you need to lift heavy items. If you’re tempted to ignore ergonomics, think about this: For every 10 pounds you lift, you place 100 pounds of pressure on your back.
When lifting, be sure to bend at your knees. If you bend at the waist, your spine needs to carry the weight of your upper body and the heavy item. Keeping your back straight and holding the item close to your body also reduces the pressure on your back.
And finally, never twist your body as you lift. That’s a surefire way to strain your back and neck.
Take a break
Sitting for an extended time places an incredible amount of stress on your lower back because the force of your body weight settles at the base of your spine. You may not be able to avoid sitting, but you can reduce your risk of back pain by taking frequent breaks.
Stand up, stretch, and take a short walk. You don’t need to take a long break, just be sure to move regularly throughout the day.
Be aware of your posture
Poor posture or slouching is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to back and neck pain.
Your vertebrae (and all the bones in your body) are arranged in a specific alignment. This natural alignment produces optimal strength and allows movement without placing excessive strain on one area of your spine.
Good posture keeps all the bones in proper alignment. Poor posture leads to sprains, strains, muscle fatigue, and pain in your back and neck.
Carrying too much weight contributes to back and neck pain. Your spine changes its position to compensate for extra weight. As a result, muscles are strained and an abnormal alignment or spinal curvature can develop.
Being overweight or obese also increases your risk of developing sciatica and arthritis in the facet joints of your spine.
If you have questions or need help creating an exercise program to prevent back and neck pain, you have direct access to our team in Milford, Connecticut. That means you can call and schedule an appointment or book one online without needing a referral from a physician.