12 Everyday Habits That Are Hurting Your Neck And Back
12 surprising everyday habits hurting your neck and back
Chronic neck and back pain are common, but what most people don’t realise is that everyday bad habits can be making your pain worse.
Your muscles are used to the constant slouching and other bad patterns you’ve developed, which can eventually lead to pain. But taking better care of your back is easy once you replace your bad habits with healthy ones.
If you're one of the many who struggles with aches and pains, it's important you actually do something about it. That's because many people wait until their symptoms are severe without seeking help. Don't do this to yourself.
If you notice you are having back pain, talking to a professional can help, as can evaluating your daily habits to see where and what might be contributing to your pain. Read on for some of the biggest culprits.
1. Always sitting at your desk
A lot of us are guilty of sitting for long periods of time. Most of us sit at our desk for eight hours every day and this can cause all sort of back problems. In fact current research states "sitting is the new smoking".
The more you move around throughout the day, the better — for your health and your back. So do a lap around the office every half hour. Or, try standing up at your desk. It can really make all the difference.
2. You have a long commute
Just like sitting at your desk, hunching over a steering wheel can tighten chest muscles and cause your shoulder to round. This especially worse for women because most car seats are designed with a man's body in mind. A long commute can cause some pretty bad back spasms, getting some seat cushions and back support can make the seat more comfortable and customised for you.
3. You carry all your possessions
If you tote around a huge Mary Poppins-esque bag, you're most definitely putting yourself at risk for neck and shoulder pain. Right from when we were in school, we carry books we don't need all just to "be prepared". The temptation to carry a lot of things can be understandable, but it's important t to remember that everything that goes in the bag goes on the shoulder and neck. So try not to weigh yourself down too much. Leave those heavy books at home, and make it a point to clean out extra junk at least once a week.
4. You sleep on a crappy mattress
Your mattress is so old, you can't remember the last time you changed it. Your back is in trouble. A good mattress is said to last between 9-10 years, but I'll advise you change yours every five years. When picking a new mattress, use the Goldilocks approach. Pick one that's not too squishy or too hard.
5. You love high heels/ flip flops
Flip-flops and high heels both lead to foot instability, which can, in turn, affect your back. High heels force you to arch your back, which in turn makes your spinal muscles work harder. Backless shoes cause your feet to move from side to side, which distributes your body weight unevenly and causes pain.
6. You are wearing your bra incorrectly
One of the reasons women wear bras, is to prevent back pain. But wearing it improperly can actually do more harm than good. Most women wear bras where the band sits too high and is too snug, causing the back to arch and [have] poor posture. You should wear a more supportive bra, as you'll experience more relief.
7. Holding your phone with your shoulder
When you're multitasking, it feels so natural to do the old' phone-on-the-shoulder manoeuvre. And yet, this habit isn't so great for your neck. By bending your head sideways to prop up your phone, you're essentially pinching the nerves in your neck, which can cause pain over time. A headset or headphones can help with this if you really do need to be handsfree.
8. Napping on the couch
We are all guilty of these, even when we say we won't nap on the couch, we end up doing it especially when we are exhausted. But this is bad for our neck and back. The awkward positioning will irritate muscles and joints by challenging them to hold a position they don't naturally like to be in. That's why most of the time we end u waking up with a kink in out neck.
9. Looking down to text/read
We all contort into some pretty odd positions in another to read, especially when we are in bed. Also, most of our day is spent staring at a screen, either your phone or laptop screen. try positioning your devices up higher so you can look straight ahead instead. That's because looking down at your phone for prolonged periods of time (about 10 minutes or more) can really strain your neck.
10. Sitting with your legs crossed
If you sit with crossed legs, or with one foot wedged under your butt, you're likely throwing off your back's alignment. Both habits tilt the pelvis which overstretches one side of the spine and over-compresses the other. When this happens, pain under one the shoulder blades will be the tell-tale sign. Catch yourself next time, and make it a point to keep both feet on the floor.
11. You watch too much tv
Sitting in front of a TV all day isn't good for your back. Excess Tv time means less time for exercise time, which is bad for you. Exercise is really important to help prevent/reduce back pain.
As if smoking wasn't already bad enough, now you can add "damaging your back" to the list of reasons to quit. People who smoke are much more likely to develop chronic back pain than those who don’t smoke.