If you have neck pain and have been told to “sit up straight,” that probably won’t do much to help—but it’s a myth that Dr. Nikesh Seth at Integrated Pain Consultants regularly has to address. The neck is part of the spine, and spinal pain is the top cause of disabilities around the world. Unfortunately, up to 66 percent of people with neck pain will have repeated neck pain in the future.
Good posture is important for bodily alignment, but surprisingly there’s not a lot of scientific evidence that backs up the “good posture gets rid of back pain” advice. Instead, it’s stress, poor sleep, and decreased physical activity that are the most likely non-trauma causes of all types of back pain.
It certainly won’t hurt to invest in an ergonomic chair or other devices to help align your spine, but when it comes down to it, your lifestyle changes (like getting more sleep) will really make a difference. In one recent study, over 1,000 teens were analyzed, and researchers found there was virtually no connection between spinal posture and neck pain. Given that the participants were teenagers, there were plenty who sat hunched over and only a few that had great posture. Even so, posture did not appear to play a role in their neck pain. Not so surprising was that the teens’ postures were directly related to their mood.
Other studies have found that those with the most neck pain were often in the most high-stress jobs. They also exercised the least and rated themselves as depressed. The more stress they had, the more they reported “muscle tension” in the neck. Sadly, some studies have found that kids as young as nine have neck pain related to poor sleep. They also have headaches, bad moods, and stomach pain more so than their peers.
Treating neck pain should include lifestyle changes (like stress reduction) but that can be easier said than done. It’s important to have effective tools for managing the symptom(s) of neck pain, too. Pain medications can be addictive, but there are plenty of alternatives including CBD topicals and chiropractic care. Schedule a detailed evaluation by booking your appointment online with Dr. Nikesh Seth today.