Surprising Ways We Cause Ourselves Pain And How To Avoid It
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Many of us live healthy lives, and yet pain still creeps up on us. It can seem that we are doing everything by the book – we eat well, we get eight hours sleep a night, and we exercise regularly. So why oh why do we get regular shoulder, back, and head aches? Well, our bodies are ridiculously complex machines, capable of things that science still can’t even comprehend, but it also means that our physiology is delicate. Actions which cause no immediate pain can cause damage to joints, ligaments, and muscles over time, and we are all prone to pushing ourselves to our limits.
Stress and anxiety
There is a reason that a massage feels like heaven when we are experiencing a period of high stress or anxiety. When we are feeling these negative emotions, our muscles tense up, pulling our shoulders together and up towards our necks, where the muscles tighten and knot. While there is not thought to be any long term damage immediately associated with this, it can be distinctly uncomfortable, and make it quite difficult to relax. While we can’t avoid stressful situations completely, we can learn great coping mechanisms. Remember to take the time to step back and breathe, even when things are at their most stressful. Focussing on breathing allows you to drop your shoulders and elongate your spine, but it also helps you to feel less anxious too.
Long phone calls
We all live busy lives, and multi-tasking is basically a necessity for getting by in this world, but certain types of multitasking can be problematic. For example, how many phone calls have you taken with your phone propped between your ear and your shoulder as you try to continue shopping, emailing, or getting the kids ready for school? For short calls this is fine, but for longer conversations, this position can be really bad news for your neck, as you overextend on one side, and compress on the other. This can cause long-term neck and shoulder pain, and even tingling down one arm as the nerve is irritated. Using a proper hands-free device – the ones where you look like you’re talking to yourself – is the best way to avoid this discomfort, which can cause serious problems longer term.
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Sitting for long periods
Many of us work in jobs which require us to stay seated for long periods of time. Whether it’s in the office or in the car, unless your chair is offering great support, your feet are flat on the floor – pretty tricky when you’re driving – and your back is straight, and your neck is elongated, you’re probably causing yourself some problems. While it might not be possible to avoid all this sitting, you should ask for a chair which offers lumbar support to avoid lower back pain. You can improvise in the car by using a cushion or rolled up towel at the base of your spine. And ensure your butt is on the chair evenly. People who store wallets in their back pockets, take note. By sitting unevenly, you’re causing a very slight twist in your spine, which can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause serious back pain in the future.
Is there anything better than lounging on the couch at the end of a long day, a glass of wine in one hand and the television remote in the other? Well, even the best things in life can be bad for us. Unfortunately, the position we take as we lounge on the couch can be terrible for posture, causing us back, neck, and shoulder pain – officially called couch potato syndrome. This is especially the case if you strain up to look at the television. Ensure you sit straight on the couch to avoid any problems, and make sure the television isn’t too high up so you have to crank your neck to see it.
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Keeping the spine straight is the best way to avoid back pain long term. But when we carry heavy bags, including laptop bags, over one shoulder we are twisting our spines, which can cause serious damage and a lot of discomfort. Even light handbags can cause twisted spines and cricked necks as we contort ourselves to keep them hoisted on our shoulders. The best way to ensure your bag doesn’t cause you problems is by distributing the weight evenly over both shoulders in a backpack with wide straps.
Poor quality sleep
If our beds are uncomfortable, we could get all the sleep we want but it still won’t be very good quality. Have you ever woken up from a full night’s sleep feeling like you could do it all again? Or have you ever woken up and felt like your back’s been trampled by an elephant, or you’ve been in the ring with Hulk Hogan? It could be that your mattress isn’t right for you. Check out the advice from Mattress-Guides.net on finding a mattress that works for your needs, because there’s so much more to mattress shopping to “firm” or “soft”. The position you sleep in can also have an impact. Sleeping on your stomach can cause a crick in your neck because of the angle at which you have to hold it. The best position is on your back or side, with your arms below shoulder height.
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Tight hairstyles can cause tension headaches, and even trigger migraines in sufferers. Tight, high ponytails and buns, or braids, especially on long hair, can cause significant discomfort. The best avoidance is wearing your hair down loose, or cutting it short to lose some of the weight.
Finally, while your office chair and desk height can be a major cause of a backache, it doesn’t stop there. Using a computer all day can cause significant eye and neck strain if regular breaks aren’t observed. The general rule is ten minutes away from the computer for every 50 minutes. If you get home every day with a headache or neckache, that’s probably why.
We cause ourselves aches and pains every day without even realizing it, but many of them are easy to avoid once you know they’re there.