Believe it or not, nearly half of all working Americans admit to suffering through chronic back pain every year, and back issues are the single most commonly reported reason for missed days on the job, statistics show. The worst of the symptoms tends to hit the upper back, or cervical spinal, area or various regions throughout one side of the body.
But why? What causes such discomfort that we’re calling into work to say we can’t make it? That all depends on your lifestyle, but there are a few very typical — and very modern — factors that tend to lead to complicated back problems or chronic pain. Not all these issues need cervical spine surgery and most can be easily worked out through regular physical therapy exercises. But in certain situations, surgical procedures aren’t just the best course of action; they’re the only action that can be taken.
It doesn’t have to get that serious. Back pain is pesky, but here are a few of the leading factors. As you’ll see, they’re quite a bit more under your control than you may have thought.
Poor sleeping conditions.
Why you’re doing wrong: We’ve all been there — wake up in the morning with a stiff neck or a sore lower back. Bad mattresses are to blame, but so are your sleeping positions. When you curl up, you’re placing stress on your spine, and even if you’re lying down flat, your S-shaped spine likely isn’t supported by your flat bed.
How to fix it: Talk to your doctor if the symptoms persist. He or she may just recommend investing in some kind of adjustable bed or another option with more spinal support. Additionally, it might just be a matter of bad sleeping posture.
Too much texing.
Why you’re doing wrong: OK, this might be a bit of a misnomer. There’s nothing wrong with sending a startling amount of text messages, tweets and emails every day — at least biologically. The problems tend to creep up when the texter is positioning his or her head downward and placing unnecessary stress on the spine.
How to fix it: After a while, smartphone users may develop what’s been called “text neck,” or long-term cervical spine problems. While not all these cases require cervical spine surgery, they can get worse if left unattended. Position your ears straight over your shoulders and prop up your back when you’re going to text.
Why you’re doing wrong: Keeping an overstuffed wallet in your back pocket was once a proud American tradition. Now, it’s been linked to what’s called “wallet” sciatica, or a set of symptoms specific to one side of your body. At their worst, these sciatica effects may call for cervical spine surgery, but that depends on what your doctor recommends.
How to fix it: You won’t always need artificial disc replacement surgery — at least not everyone will. Whenever you go to sit down, pop your wallet out and place it on a nearby desk or table. In the long run, your back, particularly your spine, will thank you.
For more information on cervical spinal surgery, always make an appointment to talk with your doctor. Good refereneces.