Is your neck pain caused by a cervical condition or is it just from stress? Join Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Heeren Makanji, MD, to learn about the many causes of neck pain and the range of symptoms of both common and uncommon cervical disorders. He will outline non-surgical options and discuss the circumstances when surgical procedures make sense. Dr. Makanji will be joined by the director of physical therapy at ONS in Greenwich, Tanya Kalyuzhny, who will demonstrate some simple neck exercises that can be done at home. Q & A will follow the presentations.
Please register by calling 888-305-9253 or online at greenwichhospital.org
It seems like everywhere you look, people of all ages are looking down at their phones. They do it at home. At work. In school. In restaurants. While waiting for a train. Even while walking, driving and riding a bike. Concern about the pervasiveness of handheld devices exists for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the detrimental affect they have on the cervical spines of children, teens and adults. Some call it Text Neck.
By some estimates, adults spend an average of 5 hours a day using a mobile phone or tablet, while teens report using their devices almost constantly throughout the day. As a result, more and more people are developing neck pain caused primarily by holding their heads in an abnormal way.
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR NECK?
Consider this. A quick glance down at your phone adds about 20 pounds of unnatural force to the discs in your neck. That weight more than doubles when you are fully engaged with your device. Putting that stress on your cervical spine for hours a day, every day can accelerate the natural wear and tear on the cervical bones and discs.
Leaning your head forward also compresses and tightens the muscles in the front of your neck and lengthens the tendons, ligaments and muscles in the back of the neck. Over time, this can cause inflammation and weakness. Abnormal flexion also can be responsible for headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and nerve-related symptoms such as radiating pain, tingling, numbness and/or burning in one or both arms. Your chances for disc herniation and early arthritis are also increased.
Growing children and teens can develop those problems too, but they have the additional risk for skeletal deformity. Studies have shown that overtime, younger people who strain their neck muscles by holding their heads in a forward tilt for prolonged periods can develop an abnormal curvature in the upper back and neck. In one study, researchers in Australia noted the development of bone protrusions similar to horns in the connecting tendons at the back of the neck in young teens who had used phones and tablets since childhood. There’s a name for that too. Phone Bone.
CAN TEXT NECK BE TREATED?
Physical therapy and in some cases, surgery can help alleviate the symptoms brought on by the overuse of these devices, but there are other steps you can try before it gets to that point. Youngsters should be encouraged to partake in physical activities that help develop musculoskeletal strength and reduce time spent gaming and texting. People of all ages can engage in activities that promote good posture, such as yoga or Pilates. When possible, use a desktop or laptop with the screen at the ergonomically correct angle. Or try lifting your phone so you are holding your head properly on top of the spine. Long term, however, the solution is easier said than done. Look up from your device and notice what’s around you. The text can wait.
ONS PAIN MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST, CHRISTOPHER SAHLER, MD, WILL DISCUSS THE BENEFITS OF REGENERATIVE MEDICINE AT GREENWICH HOSPITAL TALK.
Does your own blood hold the key to healing your medical condition? The evolving field of regenerative medicine uses biomedical materials, often from your own body, to regenerate cells and rebuild diseased and damaged tissues. Join Dr. Christopher Sahler to learn about this exciting new medical field that uses therapies from blood, platelets and stem cells to treat pain and cure complex, often chronic conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Healing Yourself: The Promise of Regenerative Medicine for Chronic Pain and Orthopaedic Care will take place on Thursday, March 10 at Greenwich Hospital’s Noble Auditorium. 6 – 7:30 pm. Free. To register, call 203-863-4277 or go to greenwichhospital.org.
The study finds that the quality of life, activity and productivity of an estimated 126.6 million American adults are affected by painful conditions and disorders affecting the bones, joints and muscles, a number which is comparable to the total percentage of Americans living with chronic lung or heart conditions. Among children, musculoskeletal conditions are surpassed only by respiratory infections as a cause of missed school days.
The report states that arthritis and related conditions top the list of orthopedic ailments (51.8 million adults) followed by back and neck pain (75.7 million combined). With an aging population, the number of people faced with musculoskeletal discomfort can be expected to greatly increase.
Fortunately, advances in diagnostic and treatment technologies, such as those that are available from the sub-specialists at ONS, can provide patients with pain relief and a safe return to mobility. However, the report underscores the importance of injury prevention strategies for individuals of all ages and the need for prompt treatment when injuries occur and orthopedic conditions first appear. With top orthopedists, neurosurgeons, physical therapists and physiatrists, ONS is committed to finding non-surgical options as the first line of treatment. Only 10 percent of ONS patients require surgery.
Let’s face it, if you don’t have a smartphone or a tablet, LTE or Wi-Fi, if you are not tweeting and networking 24/7….well, with the way we all depend on technology today, you might as well be living in a cave and drawing hieroglyphics!
We’ve come a long way from the years of the caveman, the question is, at what expense have we make this progress? From manufacturing and robotics, trading and purchasing, to filing and storage of records and data, almost everyone in the workplace uses computer technology. While computers and the internet enable workers to be more efficient and productive, our global workforce is quickly becoming more sedentary, and more painful.
Data collected from office workers reveals that 20% suffer from chronic neck pain, and 60-70% report having suffered from neck pain at some point in their career. Neck pain is highly correlated to workers who sit with a forward head for more than 5 hours per day, and is twice as likely to affect women and workers older than 40. Luckily, though, research also shows that workers who exercised regularly, reported good sleep habits and engaged in productive stress management reported a lower incidence of neck pain.
While 8 hours of sleep, regular meditation and a gym membership (that you actually use) might not fit into your busy, computer driven life, do not worry, hope is not lost. There are small steps you can take to keep yourself as pain free in the office as possible… and less irritable.
Step 1: Get up and move! We are not built to sit, we are built to MOVE. Set a timer on your computer that reminds you to change position every 20 minutes. Even if you stand for 1 minute 2 times an hour, your risk of developing neck pain reduces dramatically. While standing, engage is some basic exercises that can be done easily at your desk (see below).
Step 2: Make sure your work area is set up properly. Your desktop monitor should be even with your line of sight. Not in a corner away from you, right in front of you. If you work with a lap top or tablet, prop them up on risers so that you do not have to look down. Consider wireless/external keyboards to keep your hands in front of you and your elbows bent at 90 degree angles. Use a lumbar support to keep your spine in a neutral position, and adjust your seat height so that your hips, knees and ankles can rest at 90 degree angles. (See the picture below) Download or view our Workstation Ergonomics flyer to use as a guideline for improving your work space to help improve sitting posture and help to minimize neck and back pain.
Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists, PC (ONS) physicians provide expertise in the full spectrum of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, sports medicine, minimally invasive orthopedic, spine and brain surgery, joint replacement and trauma. The main office is located at 6 Greenwich Office Park on Valley Road, Greenwich, CT. For more information, visit www.onsmd.com or call 203.869.1145.
On Tuesday, December 4 at 6:30 p.m.Tamar Kessel, MD will present a seminar in the Noble Conference Center at Greenwich Hospital on conservative treatments for neck and back pain.
When physical therapy and oral anti-inflammatory medications fail to resolve a spine-related problem, some patients achieve significant relief from a spinal injection. Injection therapy is a way of delivering anti-inflammatory medication directly to the injured area of the spine. ONS physiatrist Dr. Tamar Kessel uses steroidal and non-steroidal injections to help patients return to their normal lifestyle. Learn how these treatments are given, who is benefited most and what to expect from interventional therapy.
Tamar Kessel, MD graduated from Cornell University and earned her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After completing a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, she received fellowship training in spine and sports medicine at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Registration required. Please call (203) 863-4277 or (888) 305-9253, or register on-line at www.greenhosp.org.
The large majority of people in the United States will have some type of spinal disorder but most will recover completely with nonsurgical treatments. The first line of treatment after a full evaluation should be conservative measures like physical therapy, medications, injections or even acupuncture. If a patient does not improve using conservative treatments, spinal surgery may be an option.
The ONS Spine Center is made up of a team of highly-skilled and experienced neurosurgeons who specialize in the full spectrum of non-operative spine treatments and operative spine treatments. From diagnostic imaging to physical therapy to therapeutic spinal injections to the most advanced surgical techniques including Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, our Spine Center offers premier and comprehensive spine care.
ONS Physical Therapist Alicia Hirscht offers the following advice on prevention of neck pain and injury:
With the rise of computer-based occupations, it is now estimated that 60 to 70% of desk workers experience neck pain on a yearly basis. Static neck positions and poor workplace design are two of the biggest factors contributing to neck pain and injury. Following are some guidelines to help reduce the risk of neck pain:
Make sure your computer screen is directly in front of you, and that you are able to look straight at it, not down. If you have a laptop, consider placing it on a riser and using an external keyboard. Position your keyboard close, so that you do not have to reach with your arms. Try to keep your trunk in a neutral posture, with a lumbar support at the base of your spine. Use a headset or speakerphone instead of holding the phone to your ear with your shoulder.
Get up and move frequently. Standing for a minute or two, every 30 minutes, is a good way to redistribute the forces in your neck and avoid reaching the threshold of pain and injury.
Exercise regularly to improve your overall neck health. Performing a routine of simple exercises, 3 times a week that includes strengthening for your upper back and stretching your chest and shoulders, can help minimize your risk of pain and injury.
Exercises to help prevent neck injury
ONS licensed physical and hand therapists offer professional, individualized treatment, using state-of-the-art techniques to evaluate and treat orthopaedic and spinal conditions. Our therapists hold advanced degrees. They are trained in rehabilitation for sports injuries, musculoskeletal injuries, orthopaedic and spine surgeries as well as treatments for movement impairment and functional limitation.
Neck injury can be the result of a car accident, sports activity or a fall. Neck pain may also be caused by abnormalities in muscles, ligaments and nerves as well as conditions of the bones and joints such as arthritis or disc degeneration.
In fact, about two thirds of people will experience neck pain at some point in time. On Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. Board-certified neurosurgeon Amory Fiore, MD of ONS (Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists) and Greenwich Hospital will present a talk on neck pain and conditions of the cervical spine in the Hyde Room at Greenwich Hospital. Dr. Fiore will discuss common causes of neck pain as well as the most effective conservative and surgical treatments. Admission is Free. To register, call Greenwich Hospital at 203-863-4277 or 888-305-9253.
Dr. Fiore graduated medical school at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York. He did his residency at The Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University and did Fellowship training in Spine Surgery at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta, Georgia. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.
On Tuesday, February 1,at 6 p.m. Board-certified Neurosurgeon Amory Fiore, MD of ONS(Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists) and Greenwich Hospital will present a talk on neck pain and spinal conditions of the neck in the Noble Conference Center at Greenwich Hospital. Car accidents, sports activity and falls may cause injury to the neck. Neck pain may also result from abnormalities in muscles, ligaments and nerves, and conditions of the bones and joints such as arthritis. Dr. Fiore will discuss common causes of neck pain as well as conservative and surgical treatments. Admission is Free. To register, call Greenwich Hospital at 203-863-4277 or 888-305-9253.