A (Brutal) Day in the Life of Your Neck

The average workday of the modern adult looks a little something like this:

Wake up. Commute to work. Sit at a desk for 8 hours. Commute home. Go to sleep. In order to keep the engine running, we’ll work meals and (hopefully) exercise into the mix.

Throughout the entire day, our collective addiction to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is straining our neck muscles and causing postural imbalances. Over time, this repetitive cycle can lead to neck pain and longer-term degenerative spine issues.

Understanding the impact of and simply being aware of your head position and posture will make a big difference in how much your neck muscles endure throughout the day. Neck strengthening can help proactively prevent neck pain and the growing cost of treating these issues, which can ultimately be in the tens of thousands over the course of several years.

How Posture and Neck Pain Are Related

Your head weighs roughly 10-12 lbs. The farther you lean your head forward, however, the heavier your head becomes for your neck, back and shoulder muscles to support.

Phones and Computers

“When you’re looking down at your phone or craned over a computer,” explains Doug Goldstein, a Denver-based physical therapist, “the weight that your neck and upper back muscles need to support can be as high as 60 lb. Over the course of several hours, this causes the neck muscles to fatigue.”

Cars

If you spend hours a day commuting in a car, you’ve likely dealt with neck and shoulder pain or stiffness at some point.

“The position most people are in when driving is suboptimal,” Goldstein continues. “Your head is generally slightly protracted and the shoulders are lifted up, which can cause stiffness in muscles like the trapezius and levator scapulae.”

In Bed

There are plenty of reasons to keep technology out of the bedroom. For those who just can’t fall asleep without skimming Twitter for 15 minutes before bed, keep in mind that you’re likely overworking certain neck muscles, even with your head on the pillow.

“When we lay on our back in bed with our head propped up on a pillow, our anterior neck muscles contract, while our posterior neck muscles lengthen,” explains Goldstein. “This type of repeated behavior can contribute to muscle imbalances between the anterior and posterior neck muscles.”

Stronger Muscles Makes Us More Resilient

Body awareness is important. By not putting our bodies in positions that cause stress and strain, injuries and nagging issues can be avoided or limited. Aside from body awareness, having stronger neck muscles is the biggest factor that you can control to prevent neck pain and long-term spine issues.

A (Brutal) Day in the Life
of Your Neck

The average workday of the modern adult looks a little something like this:

Wake up. Commute to work. Sit at a desk for 8 hours. Commute home. Go to sleep. In order to keep the engine running, we’ll work meals and (hopefully) exercise into the mix.

Throughout the entire day, our collective addiction to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat is straining our neck muscles and causing postural imbalances. Over time, this repetitive cycle can lead to neck pain and longer-term degenerative spine issues.

Understanding the impact of and simply being aware of your head position and posture will make a big difference in how much your neck muscles endure throughout the day. Neck strengthening can help proactively prevent neck pain and the growing cost of treating these issues, which can ultimately be in the tens of thousands over the course of several years.

How Posture and Neck Pain Are Related

Your head weighs roughly 10-12 lbs. The farther you lean your head forward, however, the heavier your head becomes for your neck, back and shoulder muscles to support.

Phones and Computers

“When you’re looking down at your phone or craned over a computer,” explains Doug Goldstein, a Denver-based physical therapist, “the weight that your neck and upper back muscles need to support can be as high as 60 lb. Over the course of several hours, this causes the neck muscles to fatigue.”

Cars

If you spend hours a day commuting in a car, you’ve likely dealt with neck and shoulder pain or stiffness at some point.

“The position most people are in when driving is suboptimal,” Goldstein continues. “Your head is generally slightly protracted and the shoulders are lifted up, which contracts muscles like the trapezius and levator scapulae.”

In Bed

There are plenty of reasons to keep technology out of the bedroom. For those who just can’t fall asleep without skimming Twitter for 15 minutes before bed, keep in mind that you’re likely overworking certain neck muscles, even with your head on the pillow.

“When we lay on our back in bed with our head propped up on a pillow, our anterior neck muscles contract, while our posterior neck muscles and lengthen,” explains Goldstein. “This type of repeated behavior can contribute to muscle imbalances between the anterior and posterior neck muscles.”

Stronger Muscles Makes Us More Resilient

Body awareness is important. By not putting our bodies in positions that cause stress and strain, injuries and nagging issues can be avoided or limited. Aside from body awareness, having stronger neck muscles is the biggest factor that you can control to prevent neck pain and long-term spine issues.

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