2020 and the COVID-19 Restrictions forced us to change our work, school and social lives. We spent more time indoors than out, consumed food and drinks that we shouldn’t have, and spent more time in front of a device. We couldn’t spend time with people outside of our household, the gyms were closed and we were restricted to a small window of exercise time. This led to weight gain, weaker muscles, loss of fitness and the subsequent back pain, neck pain and other negative health effects it came with. Now, as the world ushers in a new year and new standards of ‘COVID Normal’, here are 3 Top Ways to help you avoid Neck or Back pain in 2021.

1. Be more aware of your posture

Prior to COVID-19 Restrictions, most of us went to work and school outside of our homes. And we had proper ergonomics set out by the workplace or the school to help us with our posture while we’re there. But since moving our ‘bases of operation’ at home, we needed to have workstations for everyone in the house, we needed to homeshool our little ones in between our working day, we needed to stay indoors more and do our bit to fight COVID. But the problem was that we didn’t know the rules to setting up our workstation. We didn’t know that crouching over a small child’s desk can hurt our back. We didn’t know that using a laptop on a coffee table led to neck pain. So, increasing our awareness of our workstation setup and how much time we spend sitting is something we could implement.

During your daily work or studies

  • Check your workstation ergonomics. Watch our Workstation Setup video on our Facebook page.
  • Stay upright as much as you can to avoid prolonged stress to your lower back, neck and shoulders,
  • Perform the Anti-gravity stretch,
  • Avoid arching your head forwards in front of the computer,
  • Take regular breaks away from your computer, even for 2-3minutes,
  • Use an external monitor for your laptop and set it at the correct height (i.e. at your eye level).

For the kids

  • Monitor your kids’ usage of devices. How long are they on it and what devices are they using.
  • Encourage them to go outside and breathe fresh air. This could be in the backyard or at the park. Anywhere outside is fine as long as they’re safe.
  • Set their workstation like yours. They’re smaller versions of us so just tailor their setup to them (see video mentioned above).

While out and about

  • While out and about,
    • Standing at a queue, stand evenly on both feet instead of favouring one. Keep shoulders back and down and tuck your chin,
    • Move your neck: forward and back, side-to-side and rotate left and right in the car while stopped at the traffic lights,
    • Practice deeper breathing by sticking out your chest and looking up.

2. Exercise and Movement

Exercise is always a favourite category to look into at the beginning of every year. It’s a perennial ‘New Year’s Resolution’. If you’ve never exercised, begin with small efforts and build up from there with longer durations, greater intensity and increased frequency. Remember that 30 minutes of exercise is essential as part of a healthy daily routine.

Walk More

  • Increase your moving steps to 10-12 thousand per day, instead of the 2-6 thousand that you’re doing. Get a FitBit or smart watch (any offerings from Apple, Garmin or Samsung are great).
  • Purchase a treadmill or stationary bike.

Push it! (or Pull)

  • Incorporate resistance exercises, such as weights, resistance bands or body-weight exercises.
  • Join a gym or CrossFit box.
  • Join a fitness or similar interest group on social media and join in on the discussions,
  • Get a gym buddy to hold you accountable,
  • Get help from a Personal Trainer to create a fitness program tailored to your goals.

3. Create a Healthy Routine

The poet, W. H. Auden, once said, ‘Routine, in an intelligent man (sic), is a sign of ambition’. It implies that a person (man, woman or child) who carries out an activity regularly and repetitively has a greater plan, an ambition per se, than what is seen on the surface. For example, one might be training to run a marathon if they ran daily, or do not intend to wear dentures if they brushed, flossed and cared for their teeth religiously.

Creating a routine of positive habits helps to take the mental work out of doing them. Instead of waiting for the onset of back pain, around 80 percent of our practice members book their routine chiropractic adjustments every 3-4 weeks for the year to not only prevent pain but to ensure that they are always performing at their best (whether at work, home or sports). This is no different than someone who schedules their next haircut, dental appointment, eye check or gym session right after they finish their current one.

  • Walk and exercise daily,
  • Drink 2-3L of water daily,
  • Reconnect with family and nature weekly by hiking,
  • Put away a portion of your income for a holiday or a reward for yourself,
  • Have your spine checked for subluxations by your chiropractor every 3-4 weeks.

Like with anything, consistently doing these throughout the year will not only prevent physical pain, like back pain and neck pain, but it may elevate your health in ways that you may not have noticed before. It’s easy to make up excuses to not follow up on your goals. It takes effort, determination and commitment to achieve health goals! Stick to them and do them throughout the year. You might just surprise yourself with what you can achieve!

Try these top 3 ways to avoid neck pain or back pain and make 2021 your healthiest year yet!

Need help or a little more guidance? Call us on 9394 8888 or 9315 8888 to speak to one of our friendly assistants.

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