Many of our daily activities can affect our bodies and our spines in ways we do not even realize. The way you stand, the way you sleep, and even the way you talk on your phone can wreak havoc on your spine. Here are the top two bad habits that Dr. Veera Gupta and Dr. John Volpe see with their patients.
Number One: Talking and texting on your cell phone. Do you notice how you position your neck and upper body when you talk or text on the phone? Do you kink your neck to one side, or hunch over? Spending hours with your neck kinked is hard on your body. Basically, your skull sits on top of the atlas bone in your neck in these little grooves. If your head is kinked over, it is easy for your top bone to roll up your skull and get out of alignment with the rest of your spine. In chiropractic, that’s called a subluxation and it can cause headaches, neck pain, dizziness, insomnia, trigeminal neuralgia, Bell’s Palsy, and more. How can you fix this? BE MINDFUL. If you are on the phone a lot, make sure to talk on speakerphone, wear headphones, or use a hands-free device.
Number Two: Sleeping on your stomach. This is the absolute worst sleeping position. Your neck is going one way and your back is going the other way, so it puts a tremendous amount of tension on your spine. It also causes rotation in your neck, and over time these connective tissues become damaged so your neck will be “stuck” in that position.
So what is the best sleeping position? Ideally, you should sleep on your back with a gentle curve in your neck. This is way they make pillows with a slope in them, and those work great is you can sleep and be still. Unfortunately most people aren’t still, so they move around and eventually put their neck in bad position.
Dr. Veera and Dr. John recommend sleeping on your side with a nice feather pillow so your head is evenly balanced between your shoulders. If your neck moves up or down a little, that’s okay. It’s better than the alternative. The key thing is you want to make sure that you are not sleeping with your spine and neck twisted for hours and hours.