Solving neck and back pain.
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Thread: Solving neck and back pain.

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Solving neck and back pain.

    So at the ripe old age of 18 I seem to be experiencing some back and neck pains. I wish to have a career in animation so nipping this problem in the butt now seems like the best thing to do.

    After a bit of research I've concluded that it is coming from 3 main areas:

    1) Weak abs
    2) Poor posture
    3) Horrible desk/chair

    I have a few problems with solving some of these, so I'd like to get some advice.

    First, I've been trying to do sit ups/crunches to strengthen my abs. However, with my neck already in pain doing them hurts like a kick in the pants with a frozen mukluk. It may be that I'm doing it wrong, but it's not exactly rocket surgery. Are there any alternative ab exercises I could do that won't be so hard on my neck?

    Now I'm a tall guy, and posture wasn't something that came easily to me when I was younger. People always tell me, "maybe if you stop slouching your back wouldn't hurt as much." but what people don't realize is that I'm slouching because my back hurts. This is going to be a tough problem to solve, which leads me to my third problem.

    I have a really crappy chair, and a flat topped desk which is at a non-adjustable height. I spend a lot of time at this station and know that it's probably the main source of my neck and back problems. I'm a bit confused on what kinds of chairs and desks will help me with this; I know for a desk I'm looking for something that can adjust in height, but I don't know what height would be right for me. Will a drafting desk with a slant help my back at all? And for the chair I know better then to assume that anything with the word "drafting" attached to it will be good for me. So what should I be looking for? I'm also not swimming in cash so I can only afford one or the other for now, which is going to make the biggest difference?

    There's a forth problem that's a possibility, but I'm starting to doubt it's existence. Three years ago I started getting a pain in one side of my neck, but only when I moved it in that direction. It got worse, and worse, until my head was being forced to turn to one side. The doctor diagnosed it as "wry neck" prescribed me a giant bottle of pills and the problem cleared up in a week. But now as I look it up on the Internet, not smart I know, I'm starting to doubt that it actually was wry neck. I really could have been just bad neck pain. Does anyone here know anything about wry neck?

    I know this is a lot, but if you had any advice that could help with any of this I will be very grateful.

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  2. #2
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    Overview
    Torticollis is a twisted neck in which the head is tipped to one side, while the chin is turned to the other.
    Symptoms
    Limited range of motion
    Headache
    Head tremor
    Neck pain
    Shoulder is higher on one side of the body
    Stiffness of neck muscles
    Swelling of the neck muscles (possibly present at birth)
    Treatment
    Treatment of congenital torticollis involves stretching the shortened neck muscle. Passive stretching and positioning are treatments used in infants and small children. Such treatments are often successful, especially if started within 3 months of birth.
    Surgery to correct the neck muscle may be done in the preschool years, if other treatment methods fail.
    Acquired torticollis is treated by identifying the underlying cause of the disorder. Application of heat, traction to the cervical spine, and massage may help relieve head and neck pain. Stretching exercises and neck braces may help with muscle spasms.
    Medications used to treat this condition include an anticholinergic drug called baclofen. Injection of botulinum toxin can temporarily relieve the torticollis, but repeat injections every 3 months are usually need. Surgery is rarely used.
    Causes
    Torticollis may be:
    Inherited: Due to faulty genes
    Acquired: Develops as a result of damage to the nervous system or muscles
    If the condition occurs without a known cause, it is called idiopathic torticollis.
    Torticollis may develop in childhood or adulthood. Congenital torticollis (present at birth) may occur if the fetus' head is in the wrong position while growing in the womb, or if the muscles or blood supply to the fetus' neck are injured.
    Tests & diagnosis
    Various tests or procedures may be done to rule out possible causes of head and neck pain. A physical examination will show a visible shortening of the neck muscles and the head will tilt toward the affected side while the chin points to the opposite side.
    Prognosis
    The condition may be easier to correct in infants and children. If the condition becomes chronic, numbness and tingling may develop as nerve roots become compressed in the neck. Botulinum toxin injections often provide substantial relief.
    Prevention
    While there is no known prevention, early treatment may prevent a worsening of the condition.
    Complications
    Complications may include:
    Muscle swelling due to constant tension
    Neurological symptoms due to compressed nerve roots
    When to contact a doctor
    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop.


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  3. #3
    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    My two favorite quick sources of info:

    http://www.nismat.org/orthocor/programs/index.html

    http://www.drbookspan.com/NeckPainArticle.html

    Make sure you keep your ears above your shoulders. Make sure you don't stick your neck out to look at your screen. Work directly ahead.

    Begin an exercise and stretching routine which you will be able to do for the rest of your life. Being an artist is a physical lifestyle. If you don't start stretching and exercising, you will disable yourself during the course of your life. I've read countless times that a sedentary lifestyle is a worse health hazard than smoking.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Being a tall guy as well, let me just tell you that strong abs are incredibly good at preventing back problems. Build up those abs, man. And sit-ups are generally considered bad to do these days (as they can cause neck problems), so stick to crunches. When you don't go up as far, but do more reps, you won't risk hurting your neck. I find throughout the day that I flex my abs out of habit to reduce the strain on my back muscles. Just something to keep in the back of your head.

    Good posture and a good seat/desk can go a looooong way to helping, too.

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    Bigger monitor, stop leaning over the thing.

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    I concur with Flake. :'D

    Heh, being seventeen, my parents are also concerned for my physical well being. They've offered to buy me a nice big more-comfortable chair for a graduation present. I'm seriously taking up on their offer, seeing as a $70 Ikea chair makes me get a seriously numb butt after a while..

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    Slanted desk. Bigger monitor. Larger tablet. Adjustable, comfortable chair. Stop doing crunches, they're really bad for you, and start going to yoga instead to strengthen your whole torso.

    And if none of that works, painkillers are your friend.

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    most of the stuff about leaning over/posture seams to be a good idea, but i'll throw in a few more things(probably obvious stuff).

    -dont lift anything too heavy, any weight you pickup with your arms goes through your neck via the trapezius muscle lifting the shoulder blade.
    -I think the spinal erector muscles in the lower back go a long way toward keeping good posture, at least more so than abs.
    -theres also a ab exercise that you can do without affecting your neck, lye down flat hands at your sides and lift up your legs, when they are vertical use your abs to lift your butt/lower back off the ground. there are many variations of this exercise and there are some lower back issues with it if your not careful(all exercises have there problems though).
    -yoga supposed to be good, but I dont know as much about yoga yet though(just saw mundanities comment agreed).
    -once again good posture involves keeping your back and neck straight.

    I am also thinking about looking into a more ergonomic chair

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    if you have weak core muscles crunches can actually be really bad for your back, and can cause even more pain especially in the lower back.

    you need to strengthen ALL of your core muscles, especially the ones shoring up your spine. One of the best exercises you can do are side planks: http://www.fitnessvancouver.ca/anato...de%20plank.htm
    it might look like you're doing nothing, but if you have weak core muscles i am willing to bet that you can't hold them for more than a few seconds without starting to shake.
    hold them as long as comfortably possible and slowly build up your time. i bet your back will feel better! regular planks are good too (pushup position) and actual pushups will build your upper body provided you use proper form!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S990kHLMVFg
    do them right and they will sculpt your core and chest.

    i suffered chronic back and neck pain last year until i started doing side planks...now my core feels much more balanced.

    yoga is really good too, especially downward dog and childs pose.

    crunches are good but only once you've started to strengthen the deep mucles shoring up the spine, hope some of this proves to be of some use!

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    Besides all these advices from our "experts" you should see a doctor.
    Hes the one to ask.
    This is a forum about art.
    And even in a doctors forum it is not possible to make remote diagnosis.

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    i had same problems, so i started going to gym (3 days a week, 4 weeks a month)and everything is beautiful now. It is better if you have professional trainer to whom you can explain witch parts of your body needs better attention and strengthen.
    Believe me, i have cool expensive chair, dual 22" monitor and i still lean over my desk, habit.

    M

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    If you have health insurance, get your PCP to refer you to a physical therapist. They will give you a nice set of safe, gradually-harder ab exercises that will build up the right muscle groups and won't hurt you further. They can also can give you more information on specific workspace ergonomics.

    As others have said, you will need to develop a consistent exercise regimen for core strength and posture. It will help with stress, too. Besides doing PT exercises or calisthenics on your floor, or hitting the gym, Yoga is also very good for this. Yoga can be pretty miraculous, if you find the right style and teacher for you.

    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as Advil are good for short-term use when the problem is acute. Don't be afraid to use them when you're in pain, but be aware that they are hard on your stomach and kidneys, so don't use them continuously for long periods or exceed the recommended dose.

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    I too have a very similar problem, I've experienced back problems for a long time because of too much sitting and bad posture. I'm also very tall, so I guess that's a common problem for us! In my case I need to work on my core muscles, since they're not supporting the spine all the work gets put on the upper back and shoulders.

    If you have a neck pain, the safest way to work on your core is to do leg lifts, since no extra pressure is put on the neck or back. There are many alternative ways of doing such exercises, so I suggest you look it up and see what's right for you. I too had been doing crunches and other exercises but found out about the leg lifts through my Yoga practice.

    It'd be good for you to find a professional to work with and get a good exercising program. I went to physiotherapy myself and got a great program that helped me work on my problem areas. And yes, you're very right, tackle this issue now before it increases. Best of luck!

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    Sit-ups are great for the back if done properly. Top tip, though, don't be tempted to do them with a weight strapped to your head, then screw your neck so you can only look one way, go out in the car and kerb the wheel because you can't see where you're going, necessitating a 70 refurb. Not that I'd do that, no way, no chance, oh, the very thought of it... erm...

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