I’ve always had a curved spine, and the associated backaches and headaches that went along with a curved spine. One day I woke up and could barely move. I had all the symptoms of someone that had been spending too much time on the computer and my iPhone, a headache, upper back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain.
I had a massage and an acupuncture treatment, but the neck pain didn’t go away. At first I thought it was allergies. When I get allergies my neck seizes up, but this was something more. I didn’t want to get a chiropractic adjustment till I got x-rays (I was that concerned!).
My doctor called it text neck and said that he saw quite a few necks like mine, and it was from hovering over the computer and iPhone too much. He told me that I am starting to get arthritis in my neck, and one of my disks has started shrinking inward.
He gave me a prescription for lidocaine, an over-the-counter drug that causes numbness. He also suggested I start on physical therapy.
I never used the lidocaine. I believe in preventive medicine, so I went straight back to my acupuncturist and started going on a regular basis.
I purchased a soft neck brace and wore it for a month. During that month, I changed my seating so that I wouldn’t have to bend my neck while I was typing. I changed my sleeping pillow to a Tempurpedic pillow that pulls my neck up and my head back.
Your neck is supposed to be right over your shoulders. The more forward it goes, like when you are reading your smartphone, the heavier it gets and the more pressure you are putting on your neck.
It’s important to have a limber neck that can look from right to left. Car companies are putting blind spot monitors in cars because as we age we can’t turn our necks as far as we used to be able to turn them. There is hope.
I started going to yoga and pilates at least once a week. Some of the poses intentionally allow you to pull your neck back, others I consciously pull my neck back.
Massage helps, but a cranial sacrum masseuse is even better. Every time I see Debra she has me stand in the same spot while she does a postural analysis. On Debra’s website she describes CranioSacral Therapy as a bodywork method that focuses on gently stimulating your CranioSacral system (membranes and fluid that surround the brain and spinal cord) to heal the body by improving the functioning of the central nervous system. I don’t know about all that, but I know I always felt more rested and my neck always felt better.
My neck has gotten better, partly because I now take breaks. I set a timer and lay down with a towel under my neck to give it a rest.
Lastly, I think about how I text and how I read my texts. Something all of us who want to stay healthy should do for a longer quality of life.