Stiff Neck Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment By Richard A. Staehler, MD

A stiff neck is typically characterized by soreness and difficulty moving the neck, especially when trying to turn the head to the side. It may also be accompanied by a headache, neck pain, shoulder pain and/or arm pain. In order to look sideways or over the shoulder, an individual may need to turn the entire body instead of the stiff neck.

Causes of neck strain

A stiff neck is most commonly caused by a neck muscle strain or soft tissue sprain.
Watch:
 Neck Strains and Sprains Video

Most people are familiar with the pain and inconvenience of a stiff neck, whether it appeared upon waking up one morning or perhaps developed later in the day after some strenuous activity, such as moving furniture. In most cases, pain and stiffness go away naturally within a week. However, how an individual manages and cares for the stiff neck symptoms can affect pain levels, recovery time, and the likelihood of whether it will return.

Common Causes of Stiff Neck

By far the most common cause of a stiff neck is a muscle strain or soft tissue sprain. In particular, the levator scapulae muscle is susceptible to injury. Located at the back and side of the neck, the levator scapulae muscle connects the neck’s cervical spine with the shoulder. This muscle is controlled by the third and fourth cervical nerves (C3, C4).

See Neck Strain Symptoms

The levator scapula muscle may be strained throughout the course of many common, everyday activities, such as:

    • Sleeping with the neck at an awkward position
    • Falling or sudden impact that pushes the head to the side, such as sports injuries
    • Turning the head side to side repeatedly during an activity, such as swimming the front crawl stroke
    • Slouching with poor posture while viewing the computer monitor or looking downward at a mobile phone for prolonged periods (sometimes referred to as “text neck“)

See How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain

  • Experiencing excessive stress or anxiety, which can lead to tension in the neck
  • Holding the neck in an abnormal position for a long period, such as cradling a phone between the neck and shoulder

The cause of the stiff neck may be obvious if symptoms start right away, such as after falling during a sporting event. If a stiff neck seems to develop out of nowhere, however, it could be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.

In This Article:

Uncommon Causes of Stiff Neck

Sometimes neck stiffness is a reaction to an underlying disorder of the cervical spine, which helps support and move the neck in addition to protecting the spinal cord. Several examples of cervical spine disorders that can cause neck muscles to painfully spasm or tighten include:

  • Cervical herniated disc. The protective outer portion of a disc in the cervical spine breaks down, and the inner portion leaks out, causing compression and inflammation in nearby tissues.
  • Cervical degenerative disc disease. As discs lose hydration and height over time, pressure increases on nearby joints, nerves, and soft tissues, such as ligaments and muscles. This process can result in neck pain and stiffness.
  • Cervical osteoarthritis. Arthritic breakdown of the cervical facet joints between vertebral bones often occurs along with other degenerative conditions, such as spinal stenosis, and anatomical changes, such as bone spurs.

This is not a complete list of conditions that can cause a stiff neck. While rare, several other possibilities exist, such as an infection or tumor.

See Osteomyelitis, a Spinal Infection

A stiff neck can vary in intensity, ranging anywhere from an annoying discomfort to extremely painful, sharp, and limiting. Typically, attempting to turn a stiff neck to a particular side or direction will eventually result in so much pain that the motion must be stopped.

The amount of reduction in neck motion can affect the individual’s activity levels. For example, if the head cannot be significantly turned in one direction without excruciating pain, driving will likely need to be avoided until symptoms improve.1

Dos and Don’ts for a Stiff Neck

Oftentimes, taking it easy for a day or two is all that is needed to give the neck’s soft tissues a chance to heal. In cases where pain is significant, an individual may want to use an over-the-counter pain medication or apply ice and/or heat therapy.

See Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Wearing a cervical collar to immobilize a stiff neck is not advised. Rather, an individual with a stiff neck should try to stick to normal activity levels if possible, especially after the first day or two.

When to See a Doctor for a Stiff Neck

If a stiff neck has not shown improvement after a week, it should be checked by a doctor. Also, regardless of how long it has lasted, a stiff neck accompanied by any red flag symptoms—such as a fever, headache, nausea or vomiting, or unexplained sleepiness—should be seen by a medical professional immediately.

References:

  1. Neck pain and stiff neck. National Health Service Web site. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Neck-pain/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Updated December 19, 2016. Accessed February 13, 2017.

Neck Pain | Cervical Disc Herniation and Pinched Nerves!

What the Neck Pain?

If you have neck pain related to cervical disc herniation or stenosis as it relates to your c3-c4, c4-c5 and c5-c6, then you should read the following:

We see many patients who complain about neck pain, stiffness in muscles such as shoulders, arms and biceps who don’t even realize they may have herniated their cervical discs.

Below you will find common questions and answers about Cervical Disc Herniations. We also discuss basic treatment styles for such herniations and explain how they work.

 

What is a disc herniation of the cervical spine?
Literally, a disc herniation is when the nucleus pulposis of a disc migrates out through the annular fibrosis into the outer portion of a spinal disc.  What the heck does that mean?  Picture it this way.  A disc is like a jelly donut, it is made up of 2 parts.  The center is the jelly (nucleus pulposis) and it is supposed to stay in the center.  It is surrounded by the donut (annulus fibrosis).  Unlike a donut, there is no hole in the disc to inject the jelly into so there are really no weak points for the jelly to come out.

There are so many different ways an intervertebral spinal disc can herniate.  I see a lot of patients that get into car accidents (what doctors call MVA’s or motor vehicle accidents).  When you suffer a whiplash injury, when your head gets violently whipped back and forth, that is one way a disc can herniate.  Sports injuries, slips and falls, or even abnormal wear and tear.  If the body is out of alignment and one side rubs more than the other it can lead to an area getting weak and that can cause a disc to herniate.  In my practice, I see a lot of people with bad posture that have sustained herniated discs.  Repetitive stress injuries, overuse syndromes and a whole lot of other issues can also cause intervertebral discs to herniate, but I think you get my point.

Before, we list the symptoms, we should explain why you get symptoms.  First, when you herniate a disc that means there has been soft tissue damage.  That damage causes a response in the body that includes inflammation, muscle spasms and pain.  Now that combination of symptoms you can tag to any type of soft tissue damage including; sprained ankles, black and blues, shoulder injuries, even cuts and bruises.  I think everyone knows what happens when they stub their toes.  That is your body’s response to injury and damage.  It is your defense mechanism and you don’t have to think about doing it because it happens automatically.  With herniated discs, though, it doesn’t stop there.  The jelly (nucleus pulpous) creeps out of the disc and goes into the part of the spine that the spinal cord and spinal nerves go through.  That’s where the real problems begin.  Sometimes the herniation is large enough where the jelly pushes right onto the spinal cord or the spinal nerves that go through the area of the spine that the disc herniates from.  When you “pinch” a nerve like that you get a whole other list of symptoms due to the injury to the nerve.  These can include; pain, numbness and tingling, burning, weakness, loss of sensation, loss of muscle strength, loss of muscle mass (atrophy) and even paralysis.  We all know what happened to Christopher Reeves when he injured his spinal cord and that is no good.

At The Spine and Health Center of Montvale and The Spine and Health Center of Jersey City, we have had tremendous success helping patients with herniated discs.  We have a large population of our patient’s that have suffered herniated intervertebral discs in their cervical spines (necks) and lumbar spines (low backs).  At our office we have combined the latest advances in physical medicine to help treat, not only the symptoms associated with herniations, but the discs themselves.  We officer services ranging from Chiropractic, Physical Therapy,  Massage to more technological modalities like Laser, Decompression, Active Therapeutic Movements (ATM’s), etc.

I hope this will answer some of your questions about herniated discs. If there is anything more I can help you with, don’t hesitate to call The Spine and Health Center of Montvale.  Our phone number is 201-746-6577 or email us at info@thespineandhealthcenter.com.

Dr. Peter Wohl, DC, ART, BCIM


Our Locations – Montvale, NJ and Jersey City, NJ

The Spine and Health Center of Montvale – Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

The Spine and Health Center of Jersey City – Chiropractic and Physical Therapy

New Jersey Chiropractic Advice: Tips for Dealing with Neck Pain

Medications such as aspirin and other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), neck exercises and even surgery don’t always help neck pain go away. New Jersey chiropractic doctors talk with thousands of patients every day, and they’ve learned about unusual but effective ways patients combat neck pain. Some chiropractors have adopted a few ideas for their practices. Here are some tips.

  • Treat yourself to a remedial massage: That’s a specific kind of massage during which the therapist applies and massages oil into the skin around the neck. The oil infiltrates muscles and joints, relaxing them, boosting their flexibility and getting rid of toxins.
  • Practice aromatherapy: Emotional stress affects spine health and neck pain and many patients use holistic approaches such as aromatherapy as nightly rituals. Set out meditative music, candles and other items of comfort for you to sink into and let your stresses ebb away.
  • Ice yourself: Put ice between your thumb and index finger, behind your ear about 1 ½ inches back and between your eyebrows. This is especially helpful if symptoms such as headaches, numbness and tingling in your head, neck and shoulders go along with the neck pain. Headbands help keep the ice secure.
  • Swim: Enough can’t be said about the benefits of swimming in virtually any situation. Neck pain is no exception. It decreases inflammation, gives you a break from the pain and makes your neck more flexible. Get into the water to neck level and squat until the water is to your chin. Move rhythmically to the right and left. Finally, perform some of your favorite swimming exercises—gently. New Jersey chiropractic doctors say that immersing yourself in a bathtub gives you similar benefits if you lack access to a pool.
  • Sleep on a water pillow: Water pillows work because you can control how firm your pillow is. Add water if you need more structure, and let water out if your pillow feels too rigid. This may be especially helpful if braces and regular neck pillows haven’t really been successful.

Do You Suffer From Low Back Pain? by Dr. Kelly Blundy & Dr. Josh Jagoda

You ‘ve heard about it, or maybe even felt it from time to time, but we come across it every day!  Yes, that uncomfortable neck pain that you have been experiencing, can really put a damper on your day and how you feel.  It can affect everything from driving, basic conversation, attitude,  or even sitting at your computer.

In many cases, we have seen neck pain that is accompanied by other symptoms such as shoulder pain, pain in between the shoulder blades, weakness, and even numbness and tingling into the hands.  When the weakness, numbness and/or tingling occurs, it tends to be a little more severe. This can be due to an affected nerve root, or maybe you have heard the phrase, “I have a pinched nerve.”  This is also known as radiculopathy. Radiculopathy’s can occur in the neck or the low back and is when one or more nerve roots are being irritated due to an injury. Some examples include disc herniation’s or disc bulges.  The pressure and/or inflammation that occurs near the spine typically causes the nerve to become more sensitive. Many patients often report numbness or tingling in addition to their pain.  If the neck is the area of injury, the arm, forearm or hands can likely be affected.  This is because the nerve begins in the neck and ends in the hand. So if the nerve is being irritated in any way it can cause symptoms at any point along the nerve. If the lower back is the area of injury, you may be experiencing pain, numbness or tingling into the hip, pelvis, thigh, leg or even the feet.  It is possible to have more than one nerve root affected at a time and this often results in multiple areas of the body experiencing pain.

“Hey, Doc, I just bent over to pick up a pen and my back/neck went out on me!”  That is a line we hear all the time!  Usually, within a few hours or days the patient typically tells us that they started to feel pain or other symptoms into their arms or hands.

Patients tend to believe that it was the act of bending over to pick up that pen that initially caused their pain.  What most people don’t realize is that our bodies can handle a lot before we ever begin to feel any symptoms. Think about the last time you may have had a visit with your dentist. You go in for your routine check-up and usually have to get a set of x-rays. Oh no!….. a cavity! But you don’t feel any pain in your tooth. How can that be? Well that’s because it takes a certain amount of pressure or damage to be done before our brains can register the sensation of pain.  What if we actually took care of the problem before enough damage was done to cause the sensation of pain or any other symptom?

Repetitive or improper use, lack of strength/flexibility, and what I call “poor spinal hygiene” or bad posture are some of the major causes and contributors to neck pain, back pain and of course, radicular nerve pain.

So, what is your next step? First, I recommend that you don’t take this lightly. You need to get evaluated by a medical professional, like a chiropractor, to make sure you can get a proper diagnosis of what the problem is and that your pain is not coming from another source.  Then, most importantly you will be given a treatment plan that will not only help ease your pain but also fix your problem.

I often get dealt questions such as “how long will this take, what should I do, heat or ice, etc? When I first see a patient who has these problems my first objective is to One, Identify the problem. Two, Get you out of pain and three, correct the problem!  As a healthcare professional, there are steps and specific goals that the doctor and patient have to take together before they can move forward with the care.  Much like diet and exercises, you need to have a strong foundation before you can advance to the next level.  The same is true for treatment of patients.

Phase I, which is known as the “Acute Phase,” is the period where the patient is in pain and has inflammation.  In order to progress to the next stage, it is very important to reduce any inflammation and ease pain so that the patient can move into the next phase of care.

Phase 2, is the corrective phase.  This is a stage of care where the doctor will start addressing the problem by restoring function to the bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Restoring the function of these structures will ensure that the body is aligned properly, moving correctly and your pain levels are continuing to decrease.

Phase 3, is called the stabilization phase.  This is the most important phase. Continuing care and strengthening the area is of upmost importance.  Making sure that the joint is “stable” and strong will increase the likelihood that your problem will not return.

Below are our top 5 steps of things you should do if you are experiencing neck and/or back pain with radicular (nerve/numbness/tingling) symptoms.

 

  1. 1.    Get an evaluation in a timely matter –It is important to make sure you know what is going on with your body.  Making sure that you are healthy is extremely important and you want to make sure that this condition is not only treatable but also not getting worse.  Plus it takes less time and cost less to fix a problem in the beginning stages then waiting for it to become more severe.
  2. 2.    Write some questions down to ask the doctor – Being informed and prepared is critical.  Having a good working knowledge of your condition, when it started, how it occurred, and what you can do to help engages you and can accelerate your recovery time. 
  3. 3.    Be prepared to see other healthcare professionals – Sometimes you need to see other professionals to follow up with your care.  XRAY,MRI, CT scans, EMG/NCV’s may be necessary to properly diagnose your condition. We want to have the appropriate information to best treat your condition.
  4. Inquire about an Anti-inflammatory diet and/or other natural was to reduce inflammation and pain – A large portion of pain is due to inflammation in the body.  Things like arnica oil, essential oils, ice and diet are natural ways you can reduce inflammation within the body.  Always ask us “how to” cut down your inflammation is an important way to decrease your level of pain and heal faster.
  5. Follow up with care and stay consistent – You likely didn’t hurt yourself due to a single event. It takes time for your body to heal but there are things such as rehabilitation and diet that can speed up the process.   Having consistent care will only help your recovery, strengthen your body and fix the problem so it doesn’t occur again in the future.

 

HURRICANE SANDY CAUSING HEADACHES, and back pain, and neck pain, and…

I was just sitting down in the middle of a few morning adjustments and the big thing on everyone’s mind is obviously Hurricane Sandy and the preparations they are making/ need to make/ already made. And I got to thinking that couldn’t this be a metaphor for how many of us treat our body.

Think about it.

Whenever there is a hurricane people flock to the stores to stock up on hurricane supplies both perishable and nonperishable. For our purposes lets talk just about the non-perishable items, namely stuff that isn’t food. Home Depot and Lowes are crazy places right now with people buying up candles, batteries, flashlights, generators (wherever any are left), cutting plywood to cover windows, containers to hold emergency water, etc. To me this is a metaphor for how most of us deal with all issues. We ignore the risks and ramifications associated with our actions and in-actions and then frantically scurry about trying to make things right at the 11th hour. This is all stuff that we should have on hand anyway.

Hurricanes have been hitting our area for hundreds or thousands of years, if not more. Why do we act surprised when another one is coming. Whatever happened to ‘be prepared.’ This means being ready for as much as possible at all times.

When it comes to your health, how do you prepare? Do you wait until you are on the brink of permanent disability or disease before addressing your health problems? Or do you prepare by getting plenty of rest, exercise, good food, having a good attitude, and a body that is functioning the way it should?

Being able to successfully overcome challenges, whether with hurricanes or your health, preparation is key.

So ‘Be prepared.’

 We are open today, for now, to help everyone out.  We will stay open as long as we can.  We have a generator all ready to go in case we lose power and we will open as soon as possible after Hurricane Sandy blows by.  Call now if you would like to get in, but most importantly please be safe!

Thank you Dr. Russ for some of the info.

5 Simple Ways to Be Healthier and More Productive Without Leaving Your Desk

I saw this one on the internet and thought I would share it with you.  It comes from Entrepreneur, so I guess that means it is for important people, haha!  I hope you can use it:

We know physical health affects job performance, yet the demands of the day often win out over doctors’ orders. While studies show that a ten minute break for every 50 minutes of intense mental demand is required to keep your brain at its’ optimal performance, getting up from the desk is not always an option, especially for busy entrepreneurs. Follow these tips to stay healthy and productive even when desk-bound.

1. Boost your immune system with lemon water.“Squeezing half of a fresh lemon into an eight-ounce glass of water will kick-start the liver to metabolize waste more effectively, minimizing digestive bloating, gas, constipation and body pains”, says Naturopathic doctor Camille Nghiem-Phu. Bonus: lemon is an uplifting scent that can make you feel more energized and alert.

2. Get rid of your chair for better posture. “Poor posture obstructs proper blood flow and nerve conduction to our organs,” says Nghiem-Phu. Bad posture can also often lead to lower back, upper neck and shoulder pain resulting in headaches and poor concentration.

Switch up your desk chair for an inflatable exercise ball that allows you to keep your back straight while strengthening the core muscles. “Ensuring proper ergonomic positions will accelerate fresh oxygen delivery to the brain for mental sharpness,” says Nghiem-Phu.

3. Choose high-protein snacks. “Protein keeps the blood sugar stable to ward off the highs and lows of sugar-crashes that come from consuming only carbohydrates at mealtimes,” says Nghiem-Phu. Exchange your coffee and doughnut for high-protein snacks such as raw almonds, fruit, plain Greek yogurt or hummus and veggies and avoid refined sugars to ensure optimal mental performance all day long.

4. Drink more water than you think you need. Drinking water keeps the brain and muscles hydrated. We’ve all heard the advice to drink eight 8-ounces glasses of water a day, but it’s not one size fits all. Your weight in kilograms is equal to the ounces of water your body requires each day, according to the American Dietetic Association. So if you weigh 170 pounds (77kg) you should drink 77 ounces of water a day (or almost 10 eight-ounce glasses). Increase this number by 16 to 20 ounces when you exercise.

5. Stretch at your desk. Taking a break to do some stretches improves circulation allowing fresh oxygen delivery to the brain, and minimizes neck and shoulder tension that lead to headaches. Nghiem-Phu recommends the following stretches for the desk-bound:

  • With a straight back, bend your elbow, reaching your right hand towards the back of your head, for the area behind the left ear and bring your chin towards the right shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.”This stretches the muscles at the back of the head that are typically tightened to cause migraines and tension headaches,” says Nghiem-Phu.
  • To stretch the neck and upper back, bring both hands to the back of the head and allow the weight to bring your head forward while keeping your back straight.
  • With your right hand on your right hip, raise the left arm to the ceiling. Bend sideways at the waist towards the right to stretch the obliques. Repeat on the other side. “This opens the rib cage to maximize air circulation in the lungs,” says Ngheim-Phu.
  • To stretch the upper back, stand up, place both hands on the desk in front of you and take a couple steps back so you’re bent at the hip with your arms outstretched and your head facing the floor.

11 TIPS TO BETTER POSTURE

Here are some tips I provide to patient’s to take home with them after their Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Acupuncture or Massage Treatments:
1. Be brutally honest about your posture. You may think it’s pretty good, but if you are having neck-and-shoulder pain, headaches, issues with arms and hands, or if a bump is forming at the base of your neck, something needs to change. Breathing problems could even be related to curled-in chests. Don’t blame it on your bed or your genetics; you didn’t inherit a bad posture gene, you inherited the habit. The pain is there to show us where our body needs attention and maintenance. Listen to it and use it.  It’s impossible to be completely honest about how your posture looks just by seeing yourself in a mirror. Each of us subconsciously adjusts our posture when we look in the mirror. To be truly honest about our posture, we need to accidentally see a side view of ourselves in a window or reflective surface of some kind as we’re walking by. That is where you’ll see the real truth.
2. Stop thinking about your shoulders. Change your focus. Instead of concentrating on your shoulders, work on keeping your chest up and open. Your body will look better, function better and be more comfortable in the long run. You may even be able to breathe and digest food better.
Make sure to pop your chest up, not out. Visualize a string attached to the top of your sternum, pulling it up, and another string on the top of your head. Use your abs to help. When doing this, be careful not to create a curve in your low back.
3. Activate your abs. Use your core to help keep your chest up and open while allowing your arms and shoulders to simply relax back to where they’re supposed to be. This exercise is ideal to practice while sitting at a computer, and it helps keep you from curling in. It’s also effective while moving and working out. If you are doing any type of upper-body lifting in your workout, make sure your abs are tight and your chest is up as high as possible. If you don’t, you will work incorrect muscles and make your neck and shoulders worse.
4. Stretch your pecs and arms. Stretch your arms in every direction: up, down, out, across the body, above your head. Do what feels good.
5. Arm circles. This is a simple exercise to help with neck-and-shoulder tension. Arm circles stretch and work the muscles at the same time. Make sure you activate your abs and get your chest up as high as you can, first. Use your thumbs. If you point them like your hitchhiking while you do your circles, it helps keep your arms straight for a better stretch.
6. Shake it out. Unless the pain you’re having is related to an actual injury, the worst thing you can do is protect or baby it. Unless the muscle is torn or has received some sort of impact, the only thing to blame is our subconscious holding habits and repetitive actions. I realize when we first feel pain in the shoulders, arms and hands, our first instinct is to protect it and stabilize it. It hurts because it’s stuck, and it’s no longer receiving the flow that it needs.  Start shaking gently, then build up to shaking them as hard as you can, for as long as you can. Then stretch. Don’t wait until you have time to do yoga or an extended stretching session. If it’s stuck or sore, shake it out, move it, stretch it right then and there.
7. Turn your hands up while you run, or slightly forward while you walk. It pops your chest up and open. When you do any sort of extended walk, jog or run, pay attention to your form and moving correctly, rather than how far you go. While you’re moving is the best time to work on posture, form and body mechanics. If we change our patterns while we move, our muscles retrain themselves much faster.
8. Define posture. The definition of great posture is, getting out of our own way, leaning back, relaxing and letting our skeleton do its job. It’s about only using the muscles that are necessary for each movement we perform.
9. Pay attention to low-back pain. Believe it or not, low-back pain is usually caused by tension in the hips, glutes and upper legs. First, stop locking your legs together. Stretch your legs in every direction you can. This includes quads, hamstrings, iliotibial bands—everything that attaches in the hips. Muscles stretch better if you warm them up with shaking first.
10. How do you walk? Another contributor to low-back pain relates to how our feet hit the ground when we walk. Most of us turn our feet too far out when we walk; some people turn too far in, but it’s less common. Either way, most of us also walk or run while putting all of our weight on the outer (lateral) edge of our feet. When we do this every day, the musculature on the outside of our legs becomes overdeveloped and creates a huge pull on our sacrum, causing low-back curvature and pain.
Work on lengthening and strengthening your inner (medial) leg muscles. Every time your feet hit the ground, the entire palm of your foot should touch. Think about keeping your feet straight and putting your weight more in the middle, or core. If you do this, you will see a difference in the musculature of your legs, as well as experience less low-back pain.
11. Keep your hip joint straight and get your belly weight off of your hips. It’s important when you do this to not lock your knees. Visualize pulling the front of your body straight up from the arches of your feet to your sternum. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is taught that yin (feminine) energy runs up the front of the body, while yang (masculine) energy runs down the back of your body. Visualize your body moving up in the front of the body with each inhale, and down the back of the body with each exhale.

Five Moves Below That Dramatically Reduced Neck Pain and Increased Neck Strength

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that the five moves below dramatically reduced neck pain and increased neck strength in female office workers. For the best results, complete at least three sessions a week. (A session consists of three sets of three of the moves listed here; for each set, repeat the exercise ten to 12 times.)

shoulder shrug1. Shoulder Shrug
Stand, holding a pair of two-pound dumbbells at your sides. Keeping your neck straight, slowly lift up your shoulders toward your ears and lower them again. Repeat.

one-arm row2. One-Arm Row
With a dumbbell in your left hand, stand at the left side of a knee-high workout bench. Set your right knee on the bench and bend at the waist, setting your right palm on the front of the bench for balance. Your left arm should be straight, palm facing in, with the weight hanging toward the ground. Slowly pull up the weight toward your chest, then gently lower and repeat. Switch sides and repeat with the opposite arm.

upright row3. Upright Row
Stand holding a weight in each hand, resting the weights on your thighs, palms facing your body. Bending at the elbows, slowly lift up the dumbbells to chest height (your elbows should point slightly up, not straight out to either side). Keep the weights close to your body and your neck relaxed and straight. Lower gently and repeat.

reverse fly4. Reverse Fly
Reposition your bench so it’s at a 45-degree angle to the floor. With a weight in each hand, straddle the seat and press your chest against the raised end of the bench. Extend your arms toward the floor, palms facing in. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, extend the weights out to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly lower and repeat.

shoulder abduction5. Shoulder Abduction
Stand holding the weights at your sides, pressed against your thighs. With your elbows slightly bent, extend the weights out to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor, palms down. Keep your neck straight and relaxed. In a smooth motion, lower and repeat.

How To Reduce Back Pain While Sitting In A Office Chair

How back pain results from sitting in an office chair
Sitting in office chairs for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain. Sitting is a static posture that can cause increased stress in the back, neck, arms and legs, and can add a tremendous amount of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs. Additionally, sitting in a slouched-over or slouched-down position in an office chair can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the spinal discs.

Besides being uncomfortable, over time, poor sitting posture and workplace ergonomics can damage spinal structures and contribute to recurrent episodes of back pain.

Guidelines for sitting in an office chair
Here are some important guidelines to help make sure that your office chair and work area is as comfortable as possible and causes the least amount of stress to your spine:

1. Elbow measure
Begin by sitting comfortably as close as possible to your desk so that your upper arms are parallel to your spine. Rest your hands on your work surface (e.g. desktop, computer keyboard). If your elbows are not at a 90-degree angle, move your chair either up or down.

2. Thigh measure
Check that you can easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the leading edge of the chair. If it is too tight, you need to prop your feet up with an adjustable footrest. If there is more than a finger width between your thigh and the chair, you need to raise the desk/work surface so that you can raise your chair.

3. Calf measure
With your bottom against the chair back, try to pass your clenched fist between the back of your calf and the front of your chair. If you can’t do that easily, the chair is too deep. You will need to adjust the backrest forward, insert a lumbar support, or get a new office chair.

4. Lower-back support
Your bottom should be pressed against the back of your chair, and there should be a cushion that causes your lower back to arch slightly so that you don’t slump forward as you tire. This support is essential to minimize the load (strain) on your back. Never slump or slouch in your chair, as that places extra stress on your spine and lumbar discs.

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 5. Eye level

Close your eyes while sitting comfortably with your head facing forward. Slowly open your eyes. Your gaze should be aimed at the center of your computer screen. If your computer screen is higher or lower than your gaze, you need to either raise or lower it.

6. Armrest
Adjust the armrest of your chair so that it just slightly lifts your arms at the shoulders. Use of an armrest on your office chair allows you to take some of the strain off your neck and shoulders, and it should make you less likely to slouch forward in your chair.

Alternatives to a traditional office chair
While this article is about traditional office chairs, some people prefer more active, ergonomic chairs, such as a Swedish kneeling chair or a Swiss exercise ball. Traditional chairs are designed to provide complete support, but a kneeling chair (or Swedish kneeling chair) promotes good posture without a back support, and an exercise ball (or Swiss ball) helps develop your abdominal and back muscles while you sit. It’s advisable to first talk with your doctor prior to using one of these types of chairs if you have an injured back or other health problems.

Avoid static posture while sitting in office chairs
Finally, no matter how comfortable you are in your office chair; prolonged, static posture is not good for your back. Try to remember to stand, stretch and walk for at least a minute or two every half hour. Moving about and stretching on a regular basis throughout the day will help keep your joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons loose, which in turn will help you feel more comfortable, more relaxed and more productive.

Welcome To Our New Website and Blog

We want to welcome everyone to our new website and our new blog. We are very excited to use this space to update you on many interesting topics about getting and staying healthy. We will be sending you up to date information from the news headlines to top research articles to find you the best health and wellness information that we think everyone should know. We want you to know the information that can really change your life… Supplements that you should take to avoid heart disease? How to add years to your life with food and diet? The five stretches that can prevent low back pain.

In other words, practical essential information that we all need to know to live a healthier and longer life.

Stay tuned and check back with us often. Even better, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and get the information sent right to your computer. In either case, we know you will be glad you did.

The Doctors & Staff at The Spine and Health Center of Montvale