Why Your Posture Problems Are Literally a Pain in the Neck

Dec 13, 2022
Why Your Posture Problems Are Literally a Pain in the Neck
Neck pain is a common problem, particularly in this day and age of digital devices, forcing our heads forward to surf and text. The tilt away from a neutral posture can lead to trouble in your cervical spine, neck, and shoulders.

A common complaint and frequent reason for medical office visits, neck pain affects over 80% of the population at some point in their lives. 

While your neck discomfort can stem from many sources, a frequent contributor in contemporary society is the neck-forward posture that’s common with the use of smartphones, tablets, and handheld gaming systems. Extended time using these devices adds strain to your neck and the supporting tissue, upsetting the natural balance of your spine. 

Treating neck pain is a core specialty for us at Pain Management 360 in Huntington, Hurricane, and Charleston, West Virginia. Dr. Rudy Malayil and his team can diagnose and treat the pain associated with your posture-related issues so you remain comfortable as you recover. Here’s why your posture problems are literally a pain in the neck. 

The natural curves of your spine

Formed like a gently shaped S, your spine is an engineering study in balance with versatility. Sitting or standing in a neutral posture, the load of your body balances over an imaginary point called the center of gravity. 

Take a moment to stand with your chin up, shoulders back and over your hips, knees slightly bent, and feet spread to the same width as your shoulders. You should feel balanced and relaxed. In a sitting position, neutral posture happens when your hips and knees bend about 90 degrees each, and your feet are flat on the floor. 

Leaning your head forward as though to view a smartphone, you’ll feel a change in your neck and shoulders as your body shifts to support your head. The design of your spine and its support tissue allows for these unbalanced movements with strength and flexibility. 

But your body doesn’t do well at holding these unbalanced postures. The loads transferred away from your spine can eventually strain virtually every component involved in maintaining your neck balance. These strains cause neck and shoulder pain, whether through soft tissue strain or nerve compression. 

Correcting posture-related neck pain

While Dr. Malayil and our team can help you cope with the pain created by poor posture, continued bad habits may hasten its return. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to counteract these habits and reset your body’s neutral posture. 

Ergonomic workstations

For those who spend long hours on a desktop computer, a supportive chair and desk arrangement can help you remain balanced as you perform your duties. 

Changing positions

If you’re tilting your head forward, take a break every half hour to shift your head back. When you roll your shoulders forward, reverse it and hold the position for a few seconds. If you’re sitting, stand up. Even a short break relieves the effects of an unbalanced posture

Posture resets

Try setting a timer each hour throughout your workday to perform a posture reset. Return yourself to neutral posture for your current work position. Maintain the timer until you start resetting your neutral posture automatically. 

Up the activity

Adding 30 minutes a day of light, low-impact activity like walking, biking, or swimming five days a week helps to counter the time you spend in static positions. 

Any of these strategies can help relieve and prevent posture-related neck pain. If you need additional help, call or click to book a session with the nearest location of Pain Management 360. We’re standing by, so make an appointment today.