The cervical spine is a well-engineered structure of bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
The neck begins at the base of the skull and consists of seven vertebral segments and connects to the thoracic spine. The cervical spine is delicate, housing the spinal cord that sends messages from the brain to control all aspects of the body, while also being remarkably strong and flexible, allowing movement in all directions including rotational, forwards/backwards and side bending motions.
If the alignment of the head and spine is not optimal, the neck can be predisposed to injury and/or the degenerative effects of wear and tear over time.
A bad posture is one of the main cause of neck pain; it can be problematic during any number of activities, including working at a computer, watching TV, reading a book and travelling.
speaking of travelling on the bus, plane or train, people find a comfortable position to rest, read a book or text with the phone but often this involves poor positioning of the head, shoulder and back. Head is often tilted forward for long periods of time, then the neck’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments need to work harder and could lead to several problems:
-Irritation of the small facet joints in the neck as well as the ligaments and soft tissues.
-Trigger points in the muscles, which are points of tenderness that are painful to touch, along with limited range of motion.
-Disc degeneration problems, which may potentially lead to cervical degenerative disc disease, cervcial osteoarthritis or a cervical herniated disc.
Controlling correct posture is the key to avoid pain and stiffness. There are some typical bad postures that you can correct with exercises:
1)Hunched back and forward head is usually a sign that you have a tight chest and a weak upper back that can contribute to you developing a rounded upper back, which can cause neck, shoulder and upper back stiffness.
Exercises to correct the posture:
– Gently lengthen your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin
– Chest stretches
2)Poking your chin can be caused by sitting too low, a screen set too high, a hunched back, or a combination of all three.
Correcting a poking chin involves improving your sitting habits and exercises to correct your posture:
– bring your chin backwards in a chin tuck as if trying to create a `double chin`
– bring your shoulder blades down and back towards your spine
3)Cradling your phone handset between your ear and shoulder places strain on the muscles of the neck, upper back and shoulders.
Try to get into the habit of holding the phone with your hand, or use a hands-free device.