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8 Everyday Habits That Could Be Harming Your Spine & Neck

Back and neck pain are prevalent health concerns in the United States. According to national health statistics, 8% of adults suffer from chronic back pain, while as many as 70% are predicted to experience neck pain that limits their activity during their lifetime. 

These issues can be exacerbated by various factors, including harmful habits that impact the spine and neck. Let’s delve into some of these habits and discover effective ways to correct them for better spinal and neck health.

8 Everyday Habits That May Harm Your Neck and Spine

Looking at Your Phone

Frequent smartphone use can lead to “text neck syndrome,” where neck muscles strain from looking down at your phone. 

Symptoms include neck and back pain, numbness, and spine-related issues. To alleviate symptoms, try using hands-free features for calls or placing a tablet on a pillow.

Limited Physical Activity

Infrequent exercise can affect your posture, especially if you have a weak core. To combat this, regular physical activity can ease back pain and address musculoskeletal issues. 

Incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine, including cardiovascular workouts and abdominal strength training, which benefit spinal health. Research also suggests that walking can improve spinal health.

Sitting for Too Long

Sitting for extended periods can lead to tight joints and discomfort, emphasizing the importance of taking breaks to stand and move throughout the day. Prolonged sitting weakens the joints, contributing to spinal and neck pain.

Moreover, remaining seated often results in crossing your legs, which tilts your pelvis and strains one side of your spine while increasing pressure on the other. This can lead to pain under one of your shoulder blades. 

To maintain proper sitting posture and reduce discomfort, keep both feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing your legs.

Lifting Items Incorrectly

Improper lifting techniques can strain your back and lead to discomfort or injury.

When bending to lift an object, your upper body’s weight combines with the object’s weight, increasing the load on your back. Bending or reaching shifts the load away from your body, further stressing the lower spine and causing muscle fatigue.

To lift items safely:

  1. Approach the load as closely as possible.
  2. Keep your elbows and arms close to your body.
  3. Engage your core muscles, bend your knees, and keep the load close and in front of you while maintaining a straight back.
  4. Avoid twisting your body while holding the object.
  5. Use smooth, controlled movements when lifting.

Ignoring Stress

Stress can exacerbate neck and back pain, leading to tension headaches and discomfort in the head and neck area. To manage stress effectively, consider taking breaks for meditation or relaxation techniques, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and limiting exposure to stressors like social media.

An Unhealthy Diet

Poor nutrition, characterized by unhealthy eating habits and a lack of nutritious foods, can contribute to chronic pain. 

Studies have shown a connection between nutritional factors and common chronic pain conditions, such as back pain. To reduce chronic pain and inflammation, focus on consuming whole grains, healthy proteins, vegetables, and fruits while limiting sugar and processed foods in your diet.

Poor Posture

Poor posture can strain the spine and lead to back pain. Check your posture regularly, ensuring proper alignment of the spine and neck while sitting, standing, or sleeping. Practice sitting with your feet flat on the floor, chin tucked, head back, and shoulder blades pinched together. 

When standing, keep your feet hip-width apart, knees over ankles, and pelvis neutral. Additionally, ensure proper sleeping posture by using pillows to support your knees and head, depending on your preferred sleeping position.

Wearing Unsupportive Footwear

Unsupportive footwear can also contribute to spinal pain by affecting posture and weakening the spine. Choose shoes that provide adequate cushioning and support for your feet, especially if you wear them daily. When purchasing shoes, ensure they fit well, allow room for toe movement, and offer durability and grip for your intended activities.

How a Chiropractor Helps You Correct Poor Daily Habits

If you’ve developed any of the daily habits listed above, seeking the assistance of a LifeClinic back and neck chiropractor can be beneficial. Chiropractors offer natural, drug-free, and non-invasive care to address and prevent back and neck pain, often using chiropractic techniques to realign affected joints.

Following a comprehensive examination during your initial visit, your chiropractor will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. This plan may include chiropractic adjustments, targeted exercises, and recommendations for dietary or lifestyle changes to correct your daily habits, alleviate pain, and strengthen your spine.

Break the Habits Hurting Your Spine & Neck

Certain daily habits, such as excessive phone use and wearing unsupportive shoes, can negatively impact your spine and neck. 

Fortunately, there are numerous strategies to address and correct these habits. Practicing good posture, staying active, and consulting with a chiropractor for back and neck pain can help maintain proper spinal alignment and provide relief from discomfort.

For additional insights on joint health and chiropractic care, explore the LifeClinic blog today.

Dr. Reza Alizadeh

Dr. Reza is the visionary behind LifeClinic. His leadership is the foundation for the patient and team member experience, and overall direction of the LifeClinic. As the creator of IMJT, Dr. Reza continues to be the primary teacher on this technique.

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