How to get rid of neck pain? Back pain? Put down your phone, and straighten up Canada!

Your mother always told you not to stare at a screen for too long because it’d ruin your eyes. Turns out it’s doing a lot more than that. As people are using more screen-based technology (computers, smart phones, tablets, etc.), health professionals are seeing an increase in problems like headaches, neck pain, back pain, and even pain felt the face. Not good.

Why exactly are these gadgets causing a problem? People’s posture is often horrible while they use them. Heads forward, eyes cast down, shoulders forward – these can all spell bad news. Staring at a screen often takes your head off the vertical, bending it forward up to 45° – moving your head forward just an inch increases the pressure on your neck by 10 pounds. Sitting with your shoulders forward causes tightness in both the pectoral and back muscles – it can also compress the veins and nerves of the arms which increases the chances of problems like carpal tunnel syndrome.

Getting rid of technology isn’t going to happen, so what can you do? Seeing a massage therapist can help with tightness and pain. To really fix the problem though, you’ll need to actively work on your posture. Stretches and exercises to strengthen your muscles are essential and here’s a great video series to get you started.

If you’re looking for solutions specific to your posture and mobility, give us a call and any of our physiotherapists can help find the exercises that will work best for you.

Back to the Grind: Posture Tips

Yes folks, summer vacation is over. The weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change colour, and we’re once again chained to our computers to work, work, work. It’s likely most of your have experienced back pain at some point or another in your life, since it’s one of the most common reasons people come in for physio. If you’ve got back pain getting into see a physio ASAP is the first thing you should do, but what about preventing it to begin with? Check out these 4 tips to help keep your spine in line:

  1. Don’t sit still: if you’re sitting at a desk all day there’s increased pressure on your spine. Make sure to vary your position by getting up for a walk about every 30 minutes. It’s a good excuse to fill your water bottle or grab a quick breath of fresh air, and the mini break might help you focus on your work as well. There are also lots of office stretches you can do, and any of our physios would be happy to show ’em to you.
  2. Flexibility is key: Most people don’t realize that a flexible spine is a healthy spine. How do you know where your flexibility is at? You can check it: sit up straight on a chair with your arms crossed over your stomach. It should be easy to turn both ways and see behind you. If both sides aren’t even or your range or motion is limited (maybe you can only see to the side), you might want to give us a call. Our physiotherapists can assign the specific exercises to help get your mobility back to where it should be.
  3. Core is the core: Weak core muscles can be the culprit when it comes to back pain or injuries. If you’ve hurt your back doing sports or raking leaves, it could be because your core muscles aren’t pulling their weight. How do you strengthen them up? There are a variety of exercises, and they aren’t about 8-minute abs. Once your injury has been treated, our physiotherapists can assign exercises that will actually help strengthen your “core” core muscles (and might help tighten your abs up as an added bonus).
  4. Stop slouching!: alright, that seems obvious, but hear me out. We’ve all been told to stand up straight, but there are other postural habits that you should be working to avoid. Always leaning to one side, carrying your bag on one side, sitting cross legged, or slouching with your feet up are poor postures that might also indicate muscle weaknesses or stiffness in your body. Correcting them now is the first step to avoiding injury later.

Questions? Feel free to give any of the clinics a call. Now, get back to work!

Today we learned: shoulders are complicated things!

Today we learned: shoulders are complicated things. Here you are thinking it’s just a joint, but it’s actually a complex. Mmm hmmm, there’s a bunch of joints and bits in there, which means shoulder injuries are tricky. Gardening, golfing, swimming, home renovations, working out…now especially with the debut of this gorgeous summer weather, shoulder injuries are starting to flare up. Not so surprising, since it’s essentially impossible to do something with your arm and not move your shoulder. No wonder they end up getting all injured.

Remember how your mother told you not to slouch? It’s not just because she wanted you to look smart. It’s because she didn’t want you to have chronic shoulder problems. Posture has a huge impact on the health of your body! Work at a desk all day? Experience shoulder pain? You’re most certainly not alone. Here is Matthew’s take on it:

The neck joint’s connected to the shoulder joint, the shoulder joint’s connected to the elbow joint…and everything’s connected by nerves! Pain in one place isn’t necessarily indicative of an injury there, so how do you figure out where the issue actually is? Well, we know a few physiotherapists that would be pleased as punch to help you out:
The last of our “ask the expert” segments is scheduled for July 8th, so be sure to start brainstorming.