Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Back pain and neck pain at its root

Neck pain and back pain are pervasive in our society with as many as 70-80% of people experiencing pain at any given time in their life.  There are many reasons why one may develop neck and back pain, but today I want to focus on the fact that much of our spinal discomfort comes from our lifestyle.  Our society is becoming more and more sedentary.  We spend less time moving and exercising today and more time sitting at work, sitting in the car going to work, and sitting at home after work.  All this sitting is causing a real pain in the butt.  Literally!

The godfather of rehab medicine, Dr. Janda referred to the chair as, "the curse of modern man."  Dr. Janda went on to detail two conditions called upper cross syndrome and lower cross syndrome.  These syndromes refer to a series of tight and weak muscles in the body that can result in excessive strain that often leads to neck pain, back pain, and headaches.  One way to avoid upper cross and lower cross syndrome is to keep moving.  Studies have shown that maintaining a position, like sitting, for more than 20 minutes puts a lot of stress on your muscles and joints and can result in pain and discomfort.  It has been shown that getting up to stretch for as little as 20 seconds can help to erase the strain of prolonged sitting.  Dr. Brugger, a neurologist, recommended a microbreak to alleviate stress and strain on the body.  Making this simple change in your daily routine can significantly reduce the daily aches and pains of a sedentary lifestyle.  I encourage all my patients to try this exercise.  Keep moving!

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