New life style gifted to many of us these days due to COVID-19 and stay- home order. Working in small spaces, lack of movement and working while lying down on the floor, couch or bed are the main reasons to have neck and back pain, Jaw tightness, and headaches.
Neck and back pain
Working at the kitchen table or on the couch is not a friendly position for our body. An appropriate desk allows us to have a good posture and relief pain and tension from our neck, lower back, and hips. If that is not an available option, you still can relief stress and tension by doing stretching exercises to your hips, lower back, and neck by sitting upright while keeping your ears over your shoulders and hips, and take breaks by standing up, walking around and bending backward every 45-60 minutes. Also, positioning your screen at eye level would be helpful.
Increased screen time, lack of movement and stress are causing headaches due to increased muscle tension around the neck and poor posture. Usually our head is reaching forward and down as we are focusing on the computer’s screen or phone to read which is called “Forward Head posture”. Forward head posture also could happen while we are lying in bed and trying to read on our cellphone, tablets or use the kitchen table as a working station. Forward head posture can cause muscle tightness around neck and jaw by increasing tension weight. If we move our head one inch forward, we increase tension on the back muscles by 10 pounds of weight. How can we prevent forward head posture!?
- Holding the phone or tablet at face level
- Taking breaks every 30 min from screen
- Isometric neck exercises
Jaw Pain and tightness
Stress, chewing on one side of the mouth, grinding your teeth and forward head posture are the main reasons for jaw tightness and pain. This also could happen by increasing muscle tension and pain around neck and jaw. Shallow mouth breathing also can cause jaw tightness by putting head in forward position. Isometric neck exercises, massage around neck and jaw, good posture while working on the computer and reading on the phone, deep breathing through nose, and avoid grinding or chewing on one side can offset the muscle tightness.
Running and Cycling Injuries
We are all missing the gym. Running and cycling are the most common exercises for us these days. Hip pain, Shin splint, Iliotibial band pain, lower back and groin pain are common injuries with running. Running is a skill and like other skills needs practice and time to be good at it. Running technique also is important for injury prevention and improving performance. See your physical therapist to improve your running technique, and prioritize recovery post injury. Back pain, Neck Pain, and knee pain are common injuries in cycling. Bicycle size, Body position on the bicycle, Training regimen, what are you doing day to day, are you an office worker, a professional cyclist or just a weekend worriers are the modifiable factors can be used to prevent injuries.