Healthy Neck Lifestyle – Trying To Reverse An Alarming Trend
Neck disorders can result in serious pain and disability. Literature indicates rates of spinal surgery are increasing markedly. There is a trend of increasing spinal problems with increased use of computers, smartphones and tablets called text neck. So, our necks seem to be paying quite a price for the wonderful increases in technology. It is affecting us at younger ages, and the increase in problems has no end in sight – no easy solutions. Educating about a healthy neck lifestyle may be a way to help decrease the trend towards more pain and suffering.
While many of these problems are related to inactivity and poor posture, active lifestyles can often strain the neck as well. Activities like cycling, where the head is in an altered position and absorbing shock is just one of many examples of how sports, both professional, amateur or weekend warrior can cause neck disorders. Muscles are strained, as well as tendons, joints and discs. Combine this with time, injuries, stress and other factors, major problems can result. A data survey showed that within a 10 year period to 1990; the rate of surgery for cervical spine fusions increased 70%!
Although exercising is considered an important part of a healthy lifestyle, just like sitting still at a computer for long periods, strain over a period of time can have serious consequences. Chronic degeneration of the cervical spine is the most common reason for progressive compression of the nerves and spinal cord. This is a common reason for spinal surgery. Conditions where cervical nerves are compressed can cause severe pain in the neck and symptoms into the arms. Compression of the spinal cord can not only cause pain, but can lead to problems with bladder function and walking.
A healthy neck lifestyle involves a number of factors. The problem is starting earlier in life due to altered head postures that place undue stress on the neck. A course in ergonomics should be standard in our educational system. If kids can play dodge ball in gym class, there is no reason why some specific neck exercises can’t be taught. The increase in technology should bring about a reduction in the backpack load for our children. With better ergonomics during work and leisure, heavy books that strain the entire spine can be reduced to a small flash drive, as computer devices are commonplace. Why are our kids still sitting in the same painful school chairs since chairs were invented? Do you see these in teachers lounges?
Proper ergonomics also extends to sleeping with supportive pillows that keep the neck from strain while sleeping. There are also other products that are affordable and can have an immediate impact. One product I like that easily fits into an active lifestyle is the Neck Saviour. It helps stretch tight neck muscles and provides a traction effect to help keep joints and discs healthy. It weighs only a couple ounces and is easily carried anywhere you go. With an award winning design, it is recommended by health care professionals and used in restorative healing classes like Yoga and Pilates. The applications are endless. Forget about cumbersome inflation bulbs, restrictive collars, electrical cords and heavy equipment, the Neck Saviour is simple and easy to use. A true testament to the advances in technology that contribute a healthy neck lifestyle.
A recent 2017 study in Surgical Neurology International examined 207 adolescents and children with neck pain. A total of 180 suffered musculoskeletal neck problems. A higher percentage of females than males and adolescents than children were affected by ratio of approximately approximately 60% to 40%. Eye symptoms were present in slightly over 20%, and in over 80%, the parents noted psychological and behavioral issues. The study indicates 100% of the 180 individuals had altered neck flexion when using tablets, smartphones, and when studying, a condition often called text neck.
The authors of the study concluded, “Musculoskeletal neck pain is an important disease in children and adolescents with numerous risk factors contributing to its development. Increased stresses regarding the cervical spine may lead to cervical degeneration along with other developmental, medical, psychological, and social complications.”
Turning the table on the alarming increase in neck problems won’t be easy. Results will most likely be generational and only when some common sense measures are taken and instituted on a wide scale basis. Along with some of the effective home use products, we can begin to reverse this trend now with a healthy neck lifestyle.