Ending Neck and Back Pain   

Ending Neck and Back Pain

Have you ever woken up with a sharp pain in your neck or a muscle spasm in your back? Back pain is the most common culprit for absenteeism in the workplace and it may cause you to miss out on many other activities in your daily life.

It's important for us to take good care of our necks and backs. An estimated eight out of 10 people will experience neck or back pain at some point in their lives. Most episodes will resolve themselves without treatment, but sometimes the pain becomes chronic.

Muscle strain is one of the most common causes of neck and back pain. Because the muscles in the back are shorter than other muscles, they are more prone to spasm. Muscle spasms can be described as a sudden and, often painful, muscle contraction.

They can happen anywhere on the body, but back and neck spasms can be especially debilitating because it's nearly impossible to totally avoid using the muscles in your back.

Sometimes, a spasm can occur at random, or when your neck or back muscles are held in an uncomfortable position too long, such as crooking your neck to talk on the phone or sleeping in an awkward position.

Herniated discs, also called slipped discs or ruptured discs, are another common cause of back pain, and can be a bit more serious if left untreated. Between our vertebrae are shock-absorbing cushions called discs. As we get older, the discs become more brittle and less resilient to strain. When a disc gets ruptured, it bulges through and puts pressure on surrounding nerves, causing back pain that often radiates down into a leg because of the compression on the nerves.

If you discover you have a herniated discs, it doesn’t always means that you need surgery, but it does means that you need to take special care of your back. Which may include physical therapy, rest or special exercises. If you think you have a herniated disc, see your healthcare professional immediately. Disc problems typically only get worse if you ignore them.

Fractures are also responsible for neck and back pain. A fall or a severe jolt can crack a vertebra, putting the spinal cord at risk. Sometimes, surgery is necessary to put the vertebra back in place.

Here are some easy ways to alleviate or prevent neck and back pain:
Avoid sitting in one position for long periods of time. In the office or at home, stand up and walk around at least once every hour. If you must sit, make sure you have adequate lumbar support.

Sit up straight. Sitting up straight helps relieve the pains commonly associated with sitting. By using the muscles you aren't using when slouching, the overworked, strained ones get a break.

Use the right pillow. It's imperative that you have a good, firm pillow to adequately support your neck while you sleep. Many people find that the right pillow can actually improve the quality of their sleep. An orthopedic pillow with a raised outer edge and concave centre supports the neck whether you're sleeping on your back or your side and restores the natural curve of the spine.

Support your neck on long car or plane trips. A head rest will cradle and support your neck on your journey, so you arrive refreshed and pain-free. Also, use those footrests on the airplanes - they help relieve back strain.

Happy reading,

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