How Poor Posture Affects Your Neck Long-Term

How Poor Posture Affects Your Neck Long-Term

Our dependence on cell phones and other electronics is causing more long-term neck issues and pain than ever before. Even young people are experiencing the negative effects of being hunched over their phone for hours at a time.

At DMC Healthcare, Bryan Weddle, DC specializes in diagnosing and treating pain and stiffness in your neck using the latest chiropractic techniques and other conservative therapies. Dr. Weddle also provides recommendations for lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for additional neck pain and tips for being more mindful about your posture.

The link between poor posture and neck pain

To better understand what poor posture is, it can help to understand what good posture involves. When you practice good posture, your cervical spine (neck) should be straight, with your shoulders back and your ears positioned directly above your shoulders.

When you practice poor posture, your head is forward and out in front of your shoulders. This posture puts excess stress on the vertebrae in your cervical spine. The vertebrae can tilt too far forward, stretching out the ligaments and muscles that support your spine.

Your soft tissues must work harder to balance your head and neck while also fighting gravity. Too much stress on your muscles and other tissues can lead to strains and spasms that are painful and potentially debilitating.

Long-term issues you face with poor posture

Practicing poor posture too often can also lead to long-term complications that affect your physical health and even your appearance. These complications can include:

Muscle imbalances

The muscles in the back of your neck, shoulders, and chest can become shorter and tighter because of poor posture. These muscles can also become weak and lead to chronic pain and a loss of range of motion in your cervical spine.

Spinal degeneration

Too much stress on your cervical spine can damage your spinal discs, facet joints, and your vertebrae, increasing your risk for degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Both of these conditions can be painful and worsen over time, resulting in the need for surgery.

Hunching in your upper back

Keeping your head forward or bent over your phone or desk can ultimately change how your upper spine looks. As your upper back muscles weaken, a hump can form at the base of your neck.

This hump, also known as kyphosis, is a preventable curvature of your upper spine that’s directly linked to your posture and underlying conditions like osteoporosis.

Chronic pain conditions

In addition to chronic neck pain, poor posture can also cause pain in other areas of your body. Compression of nerves in your cervical spine can lead to pain that radiates down into your arms and shoulders.

Many people who practice poor posture also develop pain in the jaw, chronic headaches, and even balance problems because of too much strain in the structures in your neck.

How chiropractic care can reverse the damage of poor posture

The goal of our chiropractic treatments for neck pain is to realign the structures in your cervical spine to eliminate unnecessary pressure on your vertebra and soft tissues. Your treatment plan may involve:

Chiropractic adjustments

Dr. Weddle uses a variety of chiropractic techniques including manual manipulation to improve the alignment of your whole spine.

Medications and massage

You may also benefit from medications and therapeutic massages to relax your muscles and ease your pain. In some cases, physical rehabilitation may be necessary to strengthen muscles weakened by the stress of poor posture.

Lifestyle changes

We can recommend lifestyle changes you can make to improve your posture and the health of your cervical spine. Dr. Weddle may suggest changing out a soft pillow for a firmer version and sleeping on your side to keep your spine in proper alignment.

You may also need to reduce your screen time and reposition your computer monitor to ensure your neck stays in proper alignment while you’re working. Doing neck exercises and taking frequent breaks from your electronics can also support the long-term health of your cervical spine.

To schedule a consultation for neck pain, call DMC Healthcare today or book an appointment online. 

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