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
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
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
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.