I have been a Student for my whole life. I have sat behind a computer screen, hunched over my little laptop, sat in uncomfortable lecture chairs and carried really heavy bags to and from school.
Through most of Primary and High School I never got back or neck pain. It wasn’t until year 11 and 12 when my bag weight increased by about five kilos (no exaggeration) that I started to feel some strain in my lower back. It was never a constant pain, just something that would come and go. It would be further inflamed around the time of dance concerts when we would be rehearsing more and I would be putting greater strain on my back.
In my second semester of university in my first year I stopped handwriting my notes. Instead, I got myself a laptop. Not to state the obvious, but laptops aren’t naturally at our eye level. They sit lower. This means if you’re at your desk all day working on your laptop, that is going to put a lot of strain on your neck. I have been doing this for six years now.
I have found that particularly around exam time my shoulders and necks just have a constant burn. Again, the pain isn’t every day it turns on and off so I never did anything about it.
All my jobs have been relatively active and required me to be on my feet. It wasn’t until last year that I got a job as a Chiropractic Assistant and started sitting at work that I really noticed some constant pain (ironic I know). I have seen so many patients come in with a chronic condition, paralysed from their back pain. My boss highly encouraged me to get some testing done in September last year to see where my spine was at. I was so shocked.
The picture above is my neck. The green line represents the ideal and the red line is where I am now. Your neck curve should be -42.0 degrees. Mine is +16.7 degrees. The abnormal position of my neck is putting increased pressure on my spinal disks, muscles, bones and nerves. If I keep going like this I could be at risk of spinal arthritis and disk diseases. My Chiropractor ran a series of other tests on other parts of my spine but I will discuss those in another article.
Initially when I found out the risks associated with my neck the way it is now I really freaked out. How could I have done so much damage and not even known about it? How many people could also be at risk?
The alarming thing about these results is that they are not uncommon. I would say the fair majority of our patients have a similar condition, including young children. If hunching over a laptop is bad, do you think hunching over an IPhone or iPad is any better?
I am not saying any of this to freak you out, but rather to make you aware and more conscious of your actions. The good news is that there is help available and surgery and constant pain killers aren’t your only options.
The spine houses and protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is is the switchboard of the nervous system where nerves pass from the brain to different parts of our body. interference to these nerves through disk injuries and when the vertebrae in our spine are out of alignment interfere with the normal activities of the nerve.
The nerves in our body keep us in balance and at a body temperature at 37.6 degrees. They control all our major organs and systems such as the digestive, reproductive, respiratory and circulatory systems. Clearly, our spinal health is important.
I am going to be starting a Spinal Series on my blog as I learn more. I will be interviewing Doctors, Osteopaths and Naturopaths to support my work.
If you have been watching my Instagram vlogs you will see that I have now started Rehabilitation for my spine to help correct it and bring it back into alignment. I am currently seeing an Osteopath one day a week and having one chiropractic adjustment a week. The results have been amazing so far. I am feeling less tension through my neck and shoulders. I also have to be proactive while I am working. This means doing neck stretches at my desk and getting up to walk around every now and again.
A new addition to my care has been the use of the Denneroll. The Denneroll provides an effective stretch to my muscles and spine. The stretch that the Denneroll provides can improve movement of my neck, relieve some of the tension in my neck and assist in the correction of my spinal curves. It is something that I have been working towards using since my tests in September. If you want to know more about it please let me know and I will write up another post on that specifically. The image below is me using the Denneroll in the clinic.
Spinal Health was something I never really thought about or considered. Working within the field has made me so much more aware of the way that the spine really is connected directly to overall health and wellbeing.
“Look well to the spine for the cause of disease” – Hippocrates.