Thursday, November 8, 2012

Stop Back and Neck Pain: Postural Relief Fatigue Avoidance

Postural Relief and Fatigue Avoidance: Stop Back and Neck Pain

Most Back and Neck Injuries are not the result of a single event.

Back and Neck pain can be caused by sudden onset. This may be related to an acute injury. Sudden onset injuries are caused by trauma that may be related to a fall, motor vehicle accident, or quick positional change, such as a quarterback being blind-sided by a defensive end. This is often referred to as a whiplash mechanism of injury. These injuries can be serious, and for the most part, unavoidable.
Sanchez Blind-Side

Back and Neck Pain is the result of...

  • Poor Posture: Postural stress is accumulative in nature. This is the result of sustained positional changes of the neck and back. Often related to forward head position, or a rounded back, stress can result in overuse of muscles, chronic compression of discs or joints.
      Forward Head Posture
    • Incorrect Body Mechanics: Poor body mechanics are related to the incorrect manner in which you perform a specific task. This can be related to poor static postures, such as sitting, or poor dynamic postures, such as lifting. These injuries can cause repetitive trauma, or repetitive trauma. Lifting boxes at work on a repeated basis, or a one time lift of a box in the garage at home, can place undue stress on spinal structures and muscles resulting in injury. Poor mechanics can also be referred to as poor technique. This is often seen in the weight training room. Young athletes performing Squats can place unusual stress on spinal structures that are likely to be injured in the maturing bone.  Whether you are lifting a piece of paper, or a heavy weight, proper body mechanics must be emphasized.
    • Loss of Flexibility: Loss of joint mobility can normal mobility and muscle imbalances. This may be related to increased skeletal growth in the young athlete, maintaining sustained postures at the computer, or inattention maintenance of normal mobility of the extremities through decreased activity. When it comes time to move, and normal mobility is not present, injury can occur to soft tissue or spinal structures.


    • Stressful Living and Work Habits: Stressful habits, whether at work, home or on the playing field, are often related to decreased rest and recovery. The manner in which you perform or engage in an activity can result in fatigue. This fatigue may be physical, mental or emotional. If we do not provide adequate relief from stressful activity, fatigue may result, causing increased activity of an already tired body and mind resulting in injury, or increased perception of pain.

    ... A slothful body suffers the distress of deprivation - Hans Selye

    • Poor Sleeping Positions: The posture that we maintain during our sleep is important for recovering your body from postures, physical exertion, and mental activity that we engage on a daily basis. If we are to spend the day with the neck craned forward in poor posture, and choose to sleep with pillows propping our head forward in a flexed position through the night the muscles will become tight on the front of out neck, and the joints of the neck will become stiff and unable to sustain an upright posture.
    • Decline of Physical Fitness: Maintaining your health through physical fitness is the foundation of injury prevention. Specifically, if your muscles are conditioned to sustain physical activity, fatigue is avoided. Exercise improves physical function through improved cardiovascular health and by delivering oxygenated blood to working muscles. Strength training promotes increased capacity to perform work tasks and lean body mass. Leg strength and core stability, when combined with proper lifting technique, promotes the prevention of back and neck injury.

    What You can do to STOP Back Pain and Neck Pain

    You have control over Back and Neck Pain. The most effective action is to relieve the postural stress that accumulates with your daily activity. By relieving postural stress you begin to avoid the exaggeration of fatigue on muscles and soft tissue, joints and potential nerve and vascular structures.

    Postural Stress Fatigue Avoidance

    This schematic of the progression of postural stress, pain and injury demonstrates the effect of static positions on the musculoskeletal and neurovascular structures that ultimately lead to Cumulative Trauma Disorders(CTD's). The ability to Stop the progression of postural stress and fatigue is to be proactive in the Relief and Avoidance strategies you can employ through the day. If you wait until pain occurs, it is more difficult to unwind the effects postural stress has on muscular and support tissue, such as, fatigue, tension, decreased blood flow and compensation patterns of adjacent structures. For example, if the rotator cuff muscles fatigue in the shoulder due to sustained elevation(computer mouse), the upper trapezius muscle that connects the shoulder blade to the back of the head can overcompensate. The result is increased upper trap pain and headaches related to activation of trigger points.

    If You Keep Working a Fatigued Muscle, It Will Start Screaming at You.

    - Randy Bauer, Physical Therapist

    Postural Relief and Fatigue Avoidance

    The effect of a sedentary lifestyle, disuse and poor posture are weakness and fatigue of muscles with work. This also includes a sedentary job. It has been shown that working all day in a seated, sedentary position has a negative impact on back and neck related pain, and on your health. 
    Providing postural relief measures is the best choice for the proactive approach to stop Back and Neck Pain before it arises. When fatigued muscles are asked to continually work they can become painful. The goal then is Fatigue Avoidance through Postural Relief Strategies before pain occurs.

    Here are 5 Postural Relief Strategies You can practice for Fatigue Avoidance, and Stopping Back and Neck Pain before it rears It's ugly head.



    • Take periodic microbreaks from sustained seated postures for 1-2 minutes on an hourly basis throughout your work day. For someone that already has significant back and neck pain directly related to sitting You may want to stand every 20-30 minutes. Another excellent recommendation is to use a Sit Stand Option chair such as the Salli MultiAdjuster Ergonomic Saddle Seat, and the Bambach Saddle Chair(below). These chairs provide excellent postural support for normal spinal alignment, a sit stand option, and correct sitting ergonomics at your work station, at home, or in the office.


    Bambach Saddle Chair


    • Perform upper back, neck and shoulder range of motion stretches for relief of working postures. See the video below: RBauerPT Channel.

    • Perform lower back, hip and lower extremity range of motion stretches for relief of sustained sitting postures.This may include standing from a seated posture, placing both hands on your hips and leaning backwards, lightly stretching the low back.
    • During your lunch or break take a short walk. This may only be for 5-10 minutes, but that is okay. During your walk take some deep breaths; inhale through the nose, exhale through pursed lips. Also reach your hands overhead, and behind your back(clasping your hands at your low back). Walking has many health benefits, and is a great way to restore the mind and body.

    In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. 

    - John Muir (1838-1914)

      • Take a short meditative break a couple times a day. This will help relieve eye strain, provide a relaxation effect, and improve your focus. Try pushing yourself away from your desk, sit in a supported position. 
        • http://www.humanscale.com/products/?shop=1To Stop Neck and Back Pain, attention to Postural Relief and Fatigue Avoidance must be practiced on a daily basis. With practice and careful attention to how you use your body in static and dynamic postures, repetitive or acute stress can be prevented. Developing the habits of physical exercise, and mental and physical recovery techniques, will promote a Healthy You. 
      To Stop Neck and Back Pain, attention to Postural Relief and Fatigue Avoidance must be practiced on a daily basis. With practice and careful attention to how you use your body in static and dynamic postures, repetitive or acute stress can be prevented. Developing the habits of physical exercise, and mental and physical recovery techniques, will promote a Healthy You.