neck pain


Smart Phones, Dumb Injuries

As humans, we already do enough dumb stuff to add to our list of things that do our bodies no good.  With the launch of the new iPhone 7 and bigger and better smart phones, that weigh more and are a lot harder to handle than phones of the past I think we will see some subtle injuries arise as a result of you swiping right on tinder too much.

I’m not even joking, before I had met Rachel I had a bit of a flutter on the new-at-the-time dating app. The thing for guys was that you could just keep on swiping right until someone matched with you. I guess karma got me back. I remember flicking with my thumb and out of no where instant RSI. I had to wear a wrist guard when I did exercise to help support it was that bad (Rachel here editing this, and HAHA I had no idea this happened).

“RSI” aka Repetitive Strain Injury, comes from the overuse of tendons, muscles nerves; usually sufferers will get it from the type of work or activity that they do on heavy basis. Hairdressers are most commonly known for it, using scissors and holding other tools for long periods of time.

Along the same lines of RSI, a lot of shoulder problems come into play too from holding up your smart phone.  With the upgraded iPhone 7 Plus, or any large phone (ie Samsung Note), the weight is slightly more than the 7 or the 6 or any smaller device, and this can put an extra load though your rotator cuff and back down the arm and though the elbow joint, eventually causing pain.

I found that now when I want to use my phone on one hand it sits in a man made groove in my pinky finger. The phone is too awkward to hold in one hand comfortably if I’m flicking though Instagram on the toil- um, I mean between sessions. The pain traveling up my finger and the outside of my arm made doing upper body training painful, yes I know that sounds ridiculous, but with Fibromyalgia, any added pain doesn't help me whatsoever.

Last but not least, the head facing down in the screen. You will see it on public transport a lot of the time when people are on the train or bus, yeah those rides can be long and boring, but look at what you are doing now (most probably) head down reading this blog post. Now you are looking up and noticing how stiff your neck is. Is this how we evolve? Our spines curved to this manner? With all the nerves that run from your head to your body, no doubt somewhere in your body, physical or mentally, its probably being impacted from over uses of your devices.

I'm not saying phones are bad and that we are all going to hell, just that we can do some things to help with the injuries.

Here are 5 tips on how to prevent injuries associated with Smart Phones, music devices and tablets:

1. Swap hands on the regular. Giving your hands a rest whether you are watching Rachel on YouTube, typing a message to a friend, change your grip, use your finger to type.

2. Place the phone up against an object or on the wall, you could even get a magnetic case holder.

3. Stretch your nerves. There are a few exercises I like doing, try spreading your fingers apart as much as you can 5 times. I'm sure with the internet at your finger tips you can find a few other stretches and exercises to help with phone injuries.

4. If you feel your body hunching over, stand up and try and touch the sky, or sit up as high as you can and squeeze your shoulder blades together for 10 seconds.

5. If it can wait, let it wait. If you have a long video to watch, just wait till you are home, trying to squint and look at the screen for a long period of time can cause headaches and hurt your joints. It's probably better watching it at home or computer on a more comfortable chair.

I almost forgot two other injuries. Pokémon, and driving, that can end badly for you and whoever is around you. And a less serious one, lying in bed with the phone above your face... don’t drop it, that can hurt a fair bit.

Have you got any niggling injuries that you think may have been caused by the over use of technology?


Tips For Managing Common Work-Related Pain

This is a preview of one of the additional articles we provide for our ERL12 participants. The next round of our online fitness challenge, ERL12 will begin in July 2016. Register your interest below this post.

Beau Bressington
Pain can usually be classified as one of three types, neural pain, muscular pain or skeletal pain.  When doing a work out routine it's always important to make sure your body is mechanically sound to complete the exercise. Whether it's preventative, maintenance or repair it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a professional.

Most injuries are caused by overloading a muscle or joint, which in turn causes trigger points or inflammation. Commonly a lot of these injuries occur before even stepping into a gym. One we see quite a lot is usually caused by office or retail work, sitting at a desk all day or standing at a counter serving people is one way to create problematic postural abnormalities. Even for me right now typing this I know that I'm putting my neck under stress as I look down at my Macbook, which can cause a lot of back issues and then create pain in my shoulders, chest, neck, arms and much more. So next time you are doing work, study or even just flicking though Instagram, think to yourself, how is your posture effecting your spine?

I’m going to provide some tips on how to prevent pain from occupational hazards.

1. If you’re on your computer you’re more than likely using a mouse, this can create tightness in your upper traps, rotator cuff , arms and back, eventually leading to headaches or migraines.  Make sure your chair isn’t too high, switch mouse from hand to hand time to time, stretch your arms, go for a short walk, or at least stand up and move around every 30 mins. Be aware of your posture, if you feel your self slumping, sit up straight and squeeze your shoulders together for 10 seconds. Not only will this remind you that you have poor posture, but will also strengthen the back muscles that cause slumping in the first place.

2. If you are standing at work, most probably you are leaning to one side, loading up your hip. This one may seem unlikely but it can cause a lot of pain in the future. Loading up your hip creates little contractions in your glutes, that can then tighten up your lower spine, for a lot of you who get a “Sciatica” pain that travels down your lower back, bum, and all through your legs, this is usually the cause. This is a nerve pain that is caused by the impingement of your sciatic nerve in your lower spine and through a muscle called your piriformis. It’s technically not sciatica, but can cause the same symptoms. Switch from leg to leg, be mindful of your posture, awareness is the key! Try and stand on both legs as evenly as possible, walk around, and when no-ones looking, stretch.

3. If your job involves lifting, your lower back is probably pretty sore, if you haven’t been to the gym, or taught how to deadlift properly, chances are you are lifting wrong. If your back feels like that of a camels, straighten that guy up and bend at the hips and knees, keeping a tight tummy and getting down low will help you lift any item safely, if it's too heavy get a friend to help.

4. Got pains already? These are some people to see:
For joint pain, niggling injuries, or sports injuries are the best.
For joint pain, stiffness, nerve pain, mainly through the spine.
Massage therapist
For sore stiff muscles, tight necks, and shoulders, and lower backs.
For sore joints, poor mobility.
These are just the basics, but there are also many other natural healers, everyone is different and different methods work for different people. So try a few and see what works best for you.

A few things you can do yourself is to do isolated stretches, which you can find in the stretching guide [free download here], trigger pointing with a ball, or a friend. Self massage, and foam rolling. Natural remedies and minerals, that can help with inflammation and soreness like magnesium, glucosamine, turmeric, and many more.

Creating a pain management routine will not only help through your work outs, but your work and lifestyle too. Always remember to exercise safely, and if you're not sure on a technique, research or ask a professional.

Interested in taking part in the next 12 week online program?
It begins in July. Places are always limited so that we can provide people with one-on-one email support. Register your interest by entering your email in the form below, you will need to confirm your registration by accepting the confirmation email sent to you.