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To Your Health

Chronic times for the Cervical spine, Part Two

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06/01/2016 - Howdy! Well, we are back again dealing with effects of technology these days. In the last article I focused on the negative effects of looking down working on lap tops, ipads, and general activities such as cell phone texting, face booking etc. This positions the neck in two ways - forward head translation and neck flexing, resulting in a lot of stress to the neck and upper back .

Now let's talk about the other stress that I see commonly in the work place - the desk computer. Some have had specialists come in to determine proper work station positioning, sitting, computer height, keyboard mouse - you name it, we have it down. However there are components that just can't be ergonomically corrected. So let's check these out and see if some of you who notice these things agree.

You are tired of being in front of the one-eyed monster and you find yourself slumped over, shoulders rolled in from keyboarding or, worse, you are like me and can't type without seeing the keyboard so you're really messed up with your upper back, shoulders and neck howling in protest at the end of your workday.

Let's add vision to this mix. Many individuals work with bifocals or progressives which force the individual to tilt the head back to see the screen clearly with the lower part of the lens resulting in jamming the neck and upper back remember those individuals are slumped over as well. Also these individuals will push the head forward adding transitional stress to the neck and upper back.

Let's add this up. Sustaining these postures over 15 minutes results in what is called plastic deformation of the ligaments, tendons , muscles. Eight hours a day (if not longer for those who cannot wait to get home to sit in front of it some more). The body will try to deform itself to these postures over years of doing this, resulting in changing the structure of the spine from a normal balanced, energy efficient mechanism to a imbalanced abnormal loading of the discs and joints that will deteriorate into disc degeneration and osteoarthritis.

Now remember these are all technological advancements that we are accustomed to using every day. So how do we deal with this? Many individuals will get massages or see a chiropractor. But the truth is it should be a continuous plan of many faces. I suggest a chiropractor first - why? Because a Chiropractor can best analyze the spine in terms of what is happening to your postural and segmental movement. When I X-ray an individual with these problems I am surprised at the different kinds of structures I see from a "S" curve neck to reverse cervical curve. Not mention the different levels of osteoarthritis in the neck and upper back that tend to be unique to the person's problems and will warrant a game plan that will also try to neutralize the effects from the computer and phone. A chiropractor will make adjustments to the spine to start getting motion back into the joints as well as stimulating the nervous system to decrease sympathetic tone caused by the work stress or posture stress and start to address the abnormal structure caused from these problems.

Next, incorporate a massage therapist that will be effective in getting tissues relaxed and getting blood pushed into starving tissues bringing oxygen in and getting lactic acid worked out. Now I am asked by individuals "Deep" or "Swedish" or what. If you have not had a massage before it behooves the massage therapist and the individual to start light to know the person's tolerances. Also dry needling; acupuncture will benefit, but again does not change the structure. Exercise is very important in many ways to reduce stress and activate muscle groups that are needed to combat the problems associated with these chronic problems. And, of course, diet focusing in on sugars. Sugars in the body reek a lot of havoc on the tissues we have discussed: muscles, tendons, ligaments, disc cartilage and joint cartilage.

Remember there is no simple one solution because it involves many battle fronts. Of course this last one helps - SIT UP STRAIGHT! Unfortunately that one still doesn't work all the time. I just get up and do something else for awhile. Unfortunately, many of you can't do it or you have let that contraption rule you. So if you suffer from these problems you at least have a starting point. Remember it will take time and as long as you continue to use these devices it will always be present.

Until next time, see ya!

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