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Pain-in-the-neck part 1

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Louise van den Berg on 30-May-2017 02:06 PM

- DEPARTMENT OF PHYSIOTHERAPY, UFS  - 

 

PAIN IN THE NECK?: Part 1

So they say “sitting is the new smoking”.

Who are they?  They are the researchers who studied the effects of sustained positions on our neuromusculo-skeletal system (the neuromusculo-skeletal system is basically our muscles, joints and nerves). They then documented the evidence from their studies for us to apply in our daily lives.

For years we have known that smoking is bad for our health. So why compare smoking to sittingBecause it has now been established that sustaining a position is as bad to our neuromusculo-skeletal system as smoking is to our lungs. This is because the composition of muscle, nerves and most parts of joints is such that it can lengthen and move, but when positions are sustained for extended periods of time, these structures are compromised and weakened, which then leads to injury and pain. Even a normal functional position, like sitting while studying, can therefore cause neck and/or back strain which leads to pain.

This is a bummer! As students we need to spend a considerable time sitting – in class listening to lectures, completing assignments and studying for test or exams. 

So studying is bad for me – and that is it? No, not if you follow this advice:

PAUSE, MOVE & CHANGE POSITION after you have sustained a position for a while.

So how long is a while?

It depends, but you should at least pause, move and change position before you start to feel discomfort or pain. For example, if you feel neck pain after studying for 30 minutes, you should set an alarm to remind you when 25 minutes have passed. After 25 minutes you should pause your studying, move around a bit and change your position to apply a different position for the next study session.

 

      PAUSE           >>            MOVE         >>              CHANGE POSITION

    

                                 

 

There are also other factors to consider to prevent strain on your neck (or back) from studying: 

Factors like the chair you sit on while studying, the height of your desk (for both a sitting and standing desk) and muscles stretches to relieve tight muscles.

 So be sure to look out for the next part in the PAIN-IN-THE-NECK–series, which will address these other factors.