Many people who get neck pain think that it is just that – neck pain. A little inconvenient or annoying but otherwise isolated. However, a recent study(1) has shown that chronic neck pain had other implications as well which were a little unexpected. To understand it more fully, I will have to explain some concepts which may be unfamiliar to you, but I promise I will try to keep that to a minimum. Are you ready?
The first concept is Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is a measure of the variation of time between each heartbeat. And now for the other two concepts. The HRV indicates whether you are more in parasympathetic state (think ‘chill mode’ which is better for rest, growth, recovery, digestion, reproduction, immune function) or sympathetic state (fight or flight – where most of your resources are shunted to various body parts like your heart, lungs, arms and legs to help you escape a potentially dangerous or stressful situation). Clearly, we want to be in parasympathetic state most of the time rather than fight or flight mode. Now, the higher the HRV, the better for your body. In fact, lower HRV is associated with cardiovascular disease and worsening anxiety or depression. Some data is emerging that for postmenopausal women with low HRV, there is a moderately higher risk of sudden cardiac death (women in general are more likely to die after a heart attack compared to men).
HRV is negatively affected by all sorts of inputs in our lifestyles, including:
Science is beginning to show the extent of how neck pain can affect our bodies. The study(1) mentioned above, showed that adults aged 18-45 years with chronic neck pain had significantly lower HRV than those who were free of neck pain. That means those with chronic neck pain (defined as pain greater than three months) are more susceptible to worsening health physically and mentally. On top of that we also know that neck pain is often linked to tension headaches as well as shoulder and upper back muscle tension. All of this commonly affecting our ability to focus, to be productive and efficient amongst other things.
So if you have neck pain or know someone with it, you owe it to yourself to do something about it. Chiropractic is a proven modality to help with neck pain as well as tension headaches.
1. Santos-de-Araujo A, Dibai-Filho A, dos Santos S, de Alcantara E, da Silva Souza C, de Paula Gomes C, de Souza J, Pinherio J and Bassi D (20019), “Correlation Between Chronic Neck Pain and Heart Rate Variability Indices at Rest: A Cross-sectional Study,” JMPT, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2018.11.010
2. Hallman DM, Mathiassen SD, Lyskov E (2015), “Long-term monitoring of physical behaviour reveals different cardiac responses to physical activity among subjects with and without chronic neck pain,” Biomed Res. Int. 2015; 2015:1-11
3. Kang JH, Chen HS, Chen SC, Jaw FS, (2012), “Disability in patients with chronic neck pain,” Clin J Pain, 2012;28(9):797-803
4. A Randomized Trial of Chiropractic Manipulation and Mobilization for Patients with Neck Pain: Clinical Outcomes from the UCLA Neck-Pain Study. Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD, Hal Morgenstern, PhD, Philip Harber, MD, MPH, Gerald F. Kominski, PhD, Fei Yu, PhD, and Alan H. Adams, DC, MS. Am J Public Health, v.92(10); Oct 2002
5. Chiropractic care for patients with acute neck pain: results of a pragmatic practice-based feasibility study☆ Michael T. Hanelinea,b,⁎ and Robert Coopersteinc J Chiropr Med. 2009 Dec; 8(4): 143–155. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2009.08.003
6. Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise with Advice for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial. Bronfort, Evans, Anderson, Svebndsen, Bracha, Grimm. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012;156(1_Part):1-10.
8. Lower Heart Rate Variability Associated with Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Death in Post-Menopausal Women. Ahmed S Mohamed, Reema Qureshi, Matthew A Allison, JoAnn E Manson, Mary Roberts, Charles Eaton. 5 Apr 2018. Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2018;11: A23
Being physically active is important at any stage of your life. Whether you're pretty active already or you've made a commitment to start to be, you'll want to protect your tissues as much as possible so that you can enjoy becoming or remaining active. This blog addresses how to 'feed' your body to start or maintain this process.
Did you know that the most abundant tissue in the body, which is also extremely important for anyone who works out, is none other than “connective” tissue?
Connective tissue “connects” things in your body to help maintain structure. It basically supports and anchors parts together.
For example, your joints have ligaments (that attach bones to each other), as well as tendons (that attach muscles to bones). These are examples of “dense” connective tissue made mainly of collagen.
Your joints also have cartilage and fluid to “cushion” the ends of the bones when you move so they don't rub against each other and cause pain or “wear and tear”. Cartilage and fluid are also part of your connective tissue.
Basically, connective tissue is composed of collagen and elastic fibres (elastin), cartilage, other specialised cells, with a healthy dose of cushioning fluid too.
All connective tissue is super-important for a well-functioning body, and of course, there are certain key foods and nutrients that support optimal tissue health! And because some parts of your joints don't have a huge blood supply, they can take months (or longer) to heal after an injury.
So, let's make sure that you're constantly supplying your joints (and the rest of your body) with ample nutrition to make them as robust as possible!
Let's go over a few top foods for your tissue health.
You heard me mention collagen and elastin above, and you probably won't be surprised to know that they are made of protein!
So, of course protein is incredibly important to optimal tissue health.
Protein itself is made up of a bunch of amino acids strung together. When we eat them, our digestive enzymes break down that “string” so that you can properly absorb and digest the individual amino acids. Your body uses those amino acids to create the myriad of proteins that it needs. Yes, things like muscle, bone, and skin; and also important connective tissues like collagen and elastin. Eating enough essential amino acids is key.
Examples of protein-rich foods:
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FATS (omega-3s)
We all know that omega-3s are good for you. They are “essential” for good health and have been researched quite a bit for their potential to lower the risk of many heart and brain issues. One way omega-3s help us is because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
The problem is that most people simply don't get enough essential omega-3s.
What foods should you eat more of to get your daily supply of omega-3s?
ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PLANTS
You totally know that eating plants is good for you!
One of the many reasons why is that they contain anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. Not to mention the fact that many are vitamin and mineral powerhouses as well.
You know that inflammation is part of so many short-term and long-term health concerns, including joint pain.
Which plants have the most antioxidants?
FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN C
You remember that collagen is a critical part of your connective tissue, especially in joints. You also remember that you need protein amino acids as building blocks to make the collagen.
Vitamin C is a critical “assistant” that helps your enzymes make the collagen from those amino acids that you get when you eat protein.
So, vitamin C works hand-in-hand with protein for healthy collagen in your tissues.
Vitamin C is also an anti-oxidant, and since exercise can cause increased production of free radicals, anti-oxidant nutrients are extra-important for tissue health.
Foods rich in vitamin C include:
ZINC (especially when repair is needed)
When there has been an injury, zinc is an essential trace element that is vital in repair of any sort in our bodies. If there is a zinc deficiency, injuries and wounds either do not heal or heal too slowly.
Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food, but red meat and poultry provide the majority of zinc in Western diet. Other good food sources include beans, nuts, certain types of seafood such as crab and lobster, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals and dairy products.
On another note, your immune system also relies on zinc to work well, so make sure you are getting enough zinc either through diet or supplementation – especially this winter!
Of course, since your connective tissues and joints need enough fluid to cushion them, water is another essential “food” for tissue health.
When you're exercising, slight dehydration (from sweating) can cause you to become too hot, and reduce your performance, so water is obviously super-important when exercising.
Always drink when you're thirsty. And if you want (or need) a bit of sweet flavour for your water, throw a handful of frozen berries or chopped fruit into your water bottle.
Tissue health is important for everyone, and especially people who exercise. Eating a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally inflammatory foods is key. Foods that contain enough high-quality protein, omega-3 fats, as well as plants that are rich in anti-oxidants and vitamin C. And don't forget to stay hydrated.
Katz, D.L. & Meller, S. Can we say what diet is best for health? Annu Rev Public Health. 2014;35:83-103.
Momen-Heravi M., Barahimi E., Razzaghi R., Bahmani F., Gilai HR., Asemi Z. The effects of zinc supplementation on would healing and metabolic status in patient with diabetic foot ulcer: A randominsed, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Wound Repair Regen. 2017; 512-520.
Screen, H.R., Berk, D.E., Kadler, K.E., Ramirez, F. & Young M.F. Tendon functional extracellular matrix. J Orthop Res. 2015 Jun;33(6):793-9.
Simmons, K. Multicellular organization of plants and animals. Connective Tissue. Cells and Cellular Processes, Lab #4, Fall 2007. University of Winnipeg.
Tempfer, H. & Traweger, A. Tendon Vasculature in Health and Disease. Front Physiol. 2015; 6: 330.
Tipton, K.D. Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries. Sports Med. 2015; 45: 93–104.
USDA Nutrient Database
Williamson E. Nutritional implications for ultra-endurance walking and running events. Extrem Physiol Med. 2016 Nov 21;5:13.
Wysoczański, T., Sokoła-Wysoczańska, E., Pękala ,J., Lochyński, S., Czyż, K., Bodkowski, R., Herbinger, G., Patkowska-Sokoła, B. & Librowski T. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and their Role in Central Nervous System - A Review. Curr Med Chem. 2016;23(8):816-31.
I know you may not want to be a body builder (it's awesome if you do, though), but that's not what I'm talking about here!
Nor do you have to join a gym.
Nor buy super-fancy equipment.
Want to know why I recommend lifting weights (a.k.a. “resistance training”) for people of all ages?
If you're under the age of 50 it's important to have a good muscle mass because we start to lose up to 1% muscle mass per year after that. That's up to 30% loss by the time you're 80!
And you can lose your muscle strength even faster than 1% per year.
So, the more muscle mass you have before age 50, the better off you'll be.
If you're over the age of 50, the more you lift weights, the slower your rate of loss will be. Why settle for 1% loss, when you can keep your strength even longer?
So you can have more muscle AND slow down the rate of muscle loss by lifting weights at all ages.
Lifting weights is not just about muscle “mass” and “strength” though. It's a great way to maintain good health for just about everyone at any age, whether you're athletic or not.
What exactly do I mean by “good health”?
Here are five key health factors that are improved with increased muscle mass.
REASON #1 – BOOST YOUR METABOLISM
Yes! We all want a nice, healthy metabolism, don't we? We want to have energy, and be able to burn the right amount of calories from our foods.
Guess what your muscles can do, even when they're not working...burn calories!
And with healthy, strong muscles (like the kind you get from lifting weights), the more calories they burn. Even while you sleep! (Who doesn't want this?)
Not only that, but less muscle mass is associated with increased fat stores, as well as increased inflammation.
So, lifting weights can build up your muscles so they become more efficient metabolism-boosters, calorie burners, as well as less fat storage and inflammation.
REASON #2 – STRENGTH TO DO EVERYDAY THINGS
Lifting your groceries.
Mowing your lawn.
Carrying your baby or grandchild.
All of these are everyday things that help us maintain our independence. They're things that we can do on our own without needing extra help when we have healthy muscles to rely on.
I often recommend pregnant mums to do light hand weights frequently to build up muscle strength so that when baby comes, their muscles are more equipped to handle all that lifting and carrying that comes with having a baby.
Lifting weights can help reduce our risk of becoming dependent on others for everyday tasks, because, hey, 'I can do this myself - thankyouverymuch!'
REASON #3 – MANAGING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR
You've heard of them, and they don't sound healthy.
When your body has trouble maintaining healthy amounts of sugar in your blood (not too much, and not too little), this can cause both short- and long-term issues.
Short-term issues can include things like fatigue and brain fog. And, of course, long-term issues are the potential for insulin resistance, or even diabetes.
And, you'll never guess what can help your body maintain proper blood sugar control…healthy strong muscles!
They do this because they can store and burn excess blood sugar, therefore helping to keep blood sugar levels in just the right place.
REASON #4 – MAINTAINING BONE HEALTH
Do you know anyone who has broken a bone?
What about someone who broke their hip?
As you may know, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men end up with osteoporosis. Bones that break easily, from a simple slip on soft grass or even carpet.
But did you also know that your bones can stay strong when your muscles stay strong?
When your muscles pull on the bones to move you around, the bones get the message that they're important, and so your friendly bone-building cells actively keep making strong healthy bones.
This doesn't happen so much when muscles aren't pulling on them. When the muscles get weaker from lack of use, the bones follow suit.
Not to mention the fact that weight lifting improves balance and reduces the risk of falling, both of which reduce risk of breaking bones.
REASON #5 – LONGER LIFE, BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE
If none of the above reasons resonate with you (but they probably do…), then this one will surely get your attention.
Fact: More muscle mass and strength as we age is directly associated with longer life AND better quality of life.
What do I mean by “quality of life”? I mean lower rates of heart disease, cancer, mental disorders, etc. I mean being healthy, independent, and keeping your mental sharpness. All of those are huge factors when it comes to quality of life.
And lifting weights can help stave off all of those, so you can truly have a healthy, long life.
You can (and probably should) lift weights to maintain good health. And when I say “good health”, I mean things like maintaining your metabolism, strength to do everyday things, and keeping your blood sugar and bones healthy. Not to mention living longer...and better.
So let's lift a few soup cans, shall we?
If you are struggling with discomfort or pain while doing weights, you may have a pre-existing injury or you may be doing it incorrectly. Do consult a health profession if this is the case.
Here in Soul Chiropractic, a combination of personalised chiropractic care, Neuroemotional Technique and lifestyle advice is used for each person who seek our care. Book online now, or contact Fiona Kim for further information or appointments: email@example.com or 0415 300 341.
Ciolac, E.G. & Rodrigues-da-Silva, J.M. (2016). Resistance Training as a Tool for Preventing and Treating Musculoskeletal Disorders. Sports Med, 46(9):1239-48.
McLeod, M., Breen, L., Hamilton, D.L. & Philp, A. (2016). Live strong and prosper: the importance of skeletal muscle strength for healthy ageing. Biogerontology. 2016; 17: 497–510.
Perkin, O., McGuigan, P., Thompson, D., & Stokes, K. (2016). A reduced activity model: a relevant tool for the study of ageing muscle. Biogerontology. 2016; 17: 435–447.
Rudrappa, S.S., Wilkinson, D.J., Greenhaff, P.L., Smith, K., Idris, I. and Atherton, P.J. (2016). Human Skeletal Muscle Disuse Atrophy: Effects on Muscle Protein Synthesis, Breakdown, and Insulin Resistance—A Qualitative Review. Front Physiol. 2016; 7: 361.
Wullems, J.A., Verschueren, S.M.P., Degens, H., Morse, C.I & Onambélé, G.L. (2016). A review of the assessment and prevalence of sedentarism in older adults, its physiology/health impact and non-exercise mobility counter-measures. Biogerontology. 2016; 17: 547–565.
Xu, J., Lombardi, G., Jiao, W. & Banfi, G. Effects of Exercise on Bone Status in Female Subjects, from Young Girls to Postmenopausal Women: An Overview of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Sports Med. 2016 Aug;46(8):1165-82.
Most people I see do not realise that back pain messes with their brain. Pain changes the way we move and what we do. Pain also affects are moods and ability to think clearly - if you ever seemed grumpier than normal or your brain feels like it's foggy while you have back pain, you now know why.
Science has proof that pain changes our brain - research shows that for every year of chronic pain, your brain shrinks in volume by 1 cubic cm. This much loss in grey matter volume is equivalent to 10-20 years of normal aging. (1)
When the brain gets smaller, our higher functions can start to become affected - exhibiting as memory impairment, dementia, reduction of hormones, etc. (2)
This is alarming when we realise that some people begin to experience chronic pain from a young age, some as young as teens. Although we have no stats for children yet, it makes sense to start focusing on getting rid of chronic pain properly rather than popping pills (Band Aid response) or ignoring it until it becomes unbearable.
So why would chronic pain cause our brains to start shrinking? Well, we know that chronic pain changes our behaviour and perception of our surroundings. Your brain will work hard at avoiding anything that might cause further damage, so it alerts us with pain before it goes into a place where the brain thinks damage might occur.
However, if the injury or cause of the injury is not addressed over several months, the the involved muscles will begin deconditioning – that means it is weaker than it was before. Also, because the involved muscles are not being used as much, the brain is not receiving much stimulus from the muscles and joints, so your brain’s map for this area begins to reduce. It starts to believe that this joint and muscle can only do limited activities and put up with less loads than before. So scientists think that with less input, the brain begins to shrink. When this part of the brain that deals with pain shrinks, scientists also think that it makes us even more sensitive to pain. Instead of feeling pain only when there is real damage or injury, the person is experiencing increasingly more pain well before there is actual tissue damage. So the involved muscles and joints end up doing increasingly less as time goes by.
So in a nutshell: with pain, we reduce movement. With reduced movement over months, we get less information from the joint and muscle to the brain causing the brain to start shrinking. The brain shrinkage in turn affects other parts of the brain to lower further still our threshold for pain, so we feel pain well before we have the injury, which it takes longer for chronic pain to resolve. And lose enough brain cells and you lose cognitive function.
Given all that, it make sense to prioritise resolving pain in our bodies before it becomes chronic. And if there is chronic pain, find a way to resolve them. You owe your brain that much.
Here in Soul Chiropractic, a combination of personalised chiropractic care, Neuroemotional Technique and lifestyle advice is used for each person who seek our care. Book now online, or contact Fiona Kim for further information or appointments: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0415 300 341.
1. Chronic Back Pain is Associated with Decreased Prefrontal and Thalamic Gray Matter Density. Vania Apkarian, yamaya Sosa, Sreepadma Sonty, Robert Levy, R. Norman Harden, Todd B. Parrish and Darren R Gitelman. J. Neuroscience 17/11/2004, 24 (46) 10410-10415; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2541-04.2004
2. Ageing and the Brain. R. Peters. Postgrad Med J 2006 Feb: 82(964): 84-88 doi: [10.1136/pgmj.2005.036665] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596698/964/
Tip: I cook this without the baby spinach the day before. The next morning, I heat it through on the stove before throwing as much baby spinach as we can eat that meal on top. That way any leftover baked beans can be reheated in the same pot with freshly wilted baby spinach the next time.
4 cups rolled oats
¼ cup oat flour (whizz rolled outs in processor/grinder) or can use plain wheat flour instead
¼ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup raw honey
For later addition:
½ cup seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, hemp)
½ cup or more of nuts (a mix of almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, cashew) chopped
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit (or more if you prefer)
Optional: handful of dark choc chips
We hear a lot of things about breakfast – some claim that it’s the most important meal of the day, a smaller number feel that just a coffee is enough. Too many simply shovel food into their mouths quickly without much thought. Whether or not one does eat is mostly based on how your body functions most efficiently – some need fuel before they tackle the day, a smaller number of people have digestive systems that just prefer not to get going til much later in the day. But what is important is what does go into your mouth whether you feed yourself first thing in the morning, or later.
The first meal of the day should be fuel to kick start your body and brain. Your body has had sleep to rest, heal and grow your body (growth more so for children and teens) – it takes resources to do all that -the body will need to replenish those resources as well as to provide energy to do all the things you need to do for the day.
There are so many different philosophies related to food out there, this article is not about that. There are also different cultural foods that people have been thriving on for hundreds of generations – those work best if there has been little change in the source of ingredients. Unfortunately farming practices and food storage and processing has changed significantly especially in developed nations.
Let’s get down to basics. What does the body need? What does the brain need? Our brain and bodies need energy and the quickest form of short-term energy will come from glucose. Yes, it is a form of sugar. Our brain hungers for glucose – when it gets it, it is able to raise cognitive abilities. Suddenly sweetened cereal drowned in chocolate milk sounds like an exciting possibility. However, there is a catch. Research has shown that repeated consumption of simple refined carbohydrates and sugars decreases the brain’s cognitive abilities due to our bodies ability to release insulin to lock up excessive circulating sugar. Your body does not want too much sugar racing around the body. When that happens consistently, diabetic symptoms develop. Signs of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst, hunger even after a meal, fatigue, tingling sensations in hands or feet, visual loss and slow wound healing. Left untreated, diabetes leads to many complications that can be life threatening. So we need to feed our bodies glucose, but we need to avoid exposure to excessive glucose - what does that look like?
Now, I could go into all the complexities of biochemistry, nutrition and physiology, but most people who come to me do not want to know that. They simply ask “What do YOU and your family eat for breakfast?”
So here is a list of foods/drinks we regularly have for breakfast. We rotate it according to cooler or warmer seasons. Except for the sardines, my children are happy to consume any of the following:
Eggs & avocado on wholegrain/sourdough toast drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Homemade granola with plain yogurt, almond milk or kefir (click here for granola recipe)
Plain yoghurt with fresh seasonal fruit and nuts and seeds
Homemade baked beans (click here for recipe)
Canned sardines with avocado on wholegrain/sourdough toast drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
Smoothie (typically with banana, berries or avocado, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, plain yoghurt, flaxseed oil, almond milk and raw honey)
Wholegrain toast with nut butter & sliced banana
Licorice root tea (this is surprisingly delightful despite the fact that our family dislikes licorice)
Green drink with diluted fresh orange juice (currently using Vital Greens all in one)
Raw honey lemon drink
As you can see, we don’t follow strictly with any diet, just what is easily available, makes sense and feels good to our bodies. If you like the sound of some of these, do experiment with spices and seasonal ingredients. For example, scrambling eggs with water, salt, pepper and a little turmeric is something that is surprisingly pleasant.
Text neck is defined as that bent over posture when using the mobile phone or device. We generally know that it isn’t good for us. However in the absence of immediate pain or suffering, along with the rush of endorphins stemming from interacting with our device, it is human nature that most will deem it unimportant.
While it is true that no one dies from a text neck, many do not fully realise the impact it can have throughout their lives. Ongoing poor posture has the potential to cause recurrent tension in our muscles, permanent changes to our spine and affect our moods. That means physical and emotional changes to our lives.
There is talk that poor posture can also affect our hormone levels within a short period of time and though that requires further research, we do know that many who experience low moods and sad, self absorbed thoughts for long enough are more vulnerable to depression and anxiety which are a result of definite shifts in hormonal levels. Poor posture can cause all that? That’s more than what most people expect.
Many adults now spend most, if not all of our day with their phones. Not surprisingly, some admit to feeling incomplete without their phones – but that’s another issue entirely. The point is adults and a growing number of teens use their phones – a lot.
Research shows that bending the neck forward by just 15 degrees can increase the force on your neck by up to 12kg. Most people bend their necks up to 60 degrees while texting or reading on their phones, which can lead to adding a whopping 27kg onto your neck thanks to gravity. 27 kg is rather like carrying a six-year-old child or a large sack of potatoes. Which is heavy, especially for frequent prolonged period - on the neck. It doesn’t take long for the neck and upper back muscles to tighten and fatigue from that recurrent stress. Muscle tightness in these areas have been shown to cause neck pain, stiffness and headaches.
A healthy human neck has a natural curve to it - this is called a cervical lordosis. It looks like the letter ‘C’ in reverse.
This curve works together with two other curves along our spine to help deal with compressive forces and prevent degeneration. One of the first things prolonged and or frequent text neck will do is to reduce or remove this natural protective curve, thus leaving the individual potentially vulnerable to neck problems such as neck pain, stiffness and headaches. This is becoming more evident even in younger people. There has been some evidence that the loss of cervical lordosis is linked to dizziness as well.
But what does posture have to do with our sense of happiness? We know that a person who is depressed will often have a slumped posture while a happy and energetic person will tend to have an upright posture. Research in randomised studies has shown that the participants with upright posture reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, increased ability to solve problems and lower fear. Those who slouched used less words in general, more negative emotion words, fewer positive emotion words and displayed more self-absorbed behaviour. If a person slouches most of the day and for months or years, could this eventually lead to a higher probability of depression? Could high mobile device usage be part of the cause of the higher rates of depression in more affluent nations?
These are worrying findings as children are given mobile phones and other devices from a younger age. Apart from issues with brain development, lower social interaction and less exposure to delayed gratification amongst other things, their spines learn to slouch for increasing periods of time while they are growing. Back and neck issues that health practitioners use to see in much older adults, are appearing more frequently in children, especially teens. What this will mean for the younger generation will no doubt be discovered over the next decade or so.
So what can be done about it?
It’s really simple – teach our kids to have every screen at eye level. That means lifting the mobile device to eye level. If they will be on the device for more than 10-15 minutes, encourage them to call instead of messaging. If they are gaming, have it set up with some sort of keyboard or mouse, while setting the screen higher.
Have an alarm set to go off within 30 minutes to remind them to get up and move around if they have been sitting. If they have been at the device cumulatively for hours, have them take a break and do something physical to exercise not just their bodies, but their brains. These habits taught and reinforced early are much like teaching our kids to say “Please” and “Thank you”. After a period of reminders, you hope to see a better habit emerging as a life skill.
If you or your family suffer from tension headaches, stiff or sore neck or back, address them. Often leaving tight and stiff muscles unresolved can make it difficult for a child or adult to improve their posture. Chiropractic has been shown to be effective in resolving these problems.
If you would like to find out more, please visit www.soulchiropractic.com.au or contact Soul Chiropractic for an appointment on 0415 300 341 or email@example.com. Online booking is also available on the website.
1. Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head.
Hansraj KK1. Surg Technol Int. 2014 Nov;25:277-9.
2. The Effect of Technological Devices on Cervical Lordosis.
Öğrenci A1, Koban O1, Yaman O2, Dalbayrak S1, Yılmaz M1. J Med Sci. 2018 Mar 3;6(3):467-471. doi: 10.3889/oamjms.2018.107. 2018 Mar 15.
3. J Craniovertebr Junction Spine. 2017 Jan-Mar; 8(1): 9–14. doi: 10.4103/0974-8237.199877
4. Loss of cervical lordosis: What is the prognosis? Laura Lippa, Luciano, Lippa, and Francesco Cacciola
5. Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial Nair, S., Sagar, M., Sollers, J. III, Consedine, N., & Broadbent, E. (2015).. Health Psychology, 34(6), 632-641.
6. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2000 Jan;25(1):69-83.
7. Upright posture influences salivary cortisol. Hennig J1, Friebe J, Ryl I, Krämer B, Böttcher J, Netter P.
8. IT kids: exposure to computers and adolescents’ neck posture and pain 2006. L. Strakera, P. O’Sullivana, G. Kendallb,c, N. Sloanb, C. Pollockd, A. Smitha and M. Perrya
9. Further reading published by the World Federation of Chiropractic: http://www.wfcsuggestedreadinglist.com/cervical-neck-pain.html