Updated: May 1, 2020

Spending more time at home, and with an entire day to fill up means only one thing... more afternoon naps! With more afternoon naps, it's more important than ever that you know how your pillow may be causing pain or tension in your neck.

First things first, I should point out that there are many factors that can contribute towards neck and shoulder pain. For the purposes of this blog, we will be focusing on sleep-related neck and shoulder tension.

If you are experiencing persistent neck pain, getting headaches regularly, or you are noticing pins and needles, numbness or weakness in one or both of your arms, it is essential that you speak with your Osteopath or other medical professional to help establish the cause of these symptoms.

What is the best sleeping position for neck pain?

Your sleeping position can have a significant impact on the structures of your neck, so choosing the correct position to sleep in is key. Sorry for all you front sleepers, the best position to help prevent neck issues is either laying on your side, or on your back.

A neutral neck is a happy neck

You can't control what you do whilst you're asleep, but you can make sure that you start off with your neck in a neutral position. A neutral position is where all of the joints are aligned and the muscles are in a relaxed state. The problem that front sleepers have, is that the head and neck have to rotate one way (in order to breathe... which is preferable). This creates a lot of neck joint compression on the side the head is rotated to, and will mean a prolonged overstretch to the muscles on the opposite side of the neck. You may or may not experience pain doing this occasionally, but this type of sleeping position will likely cause issues longer term.... so if you're a front sleeper, stop it.

For all of you back and side sleepers, well done. If you sleep on your back, try using a fairly flat pillow that naturally supports the arch of your neck.

A study in 2017 showed that sleeping on your back with one arm resting by your side, and the other by your head increased muscle activity in the neck muscles significantly (Won-Hwee Lee & Min-Seok Ko, 2017). With this in mind, try keeping your arms either by your side or resting them across your chest so that these muscles remain relaxed whilst you are sleeping.

Side sleepers, keep in mind that you're trying to maintain that neutral neck position. Despite how many times my patients ask me for a pillow recommendation, there is no 'one size fits all'. The focus should be on ensuring that the pillow fits nicely in to the arch of your neck, so that your head is neither dropping down towards the bed, or being lifted up too high.

If you can, get someone to see whether your head and neck position are in that neutral position when laying on the pillow. If you are a solo quarantiner, you may have to try getting creative with the photo timer on your phone.

If you are experiencing persistent neck pain or are getting others symptoms that you are worried about, please get in touch and I may be able to help you.

Good luck and sleep well

ben@bencohenosteopathy.com Instagram - Bencohenosteo

#sleep #sleepy #sleepbeauty #bed #quarantine #quarantinelife #sleeping #sleeptraining #sleepbetter #naptime #osteopathy #stayhome #instadaily #sweetdreams #goodnight

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You're coming to the end of another working day at home in quarantine. You go to stand up from your (correctly set up) desk and you hear a loud 'crunch'. Now I'd imagine you haven't just stood on one of your kids carefully constructed lego models, as you would more than likely be screaming by now instead of reading this. You realise that the awful sounding crunch noise is actually coming from your knees, and you're start to sulk about your 'old knees'. So what exactly is causing this noise?

Many people will experience a crunching, clicking or popping sound when bending the knee. The medical term for this is knee crepitus. A person with knee crepitus can usually feel the crunching or cracking sensation by placing a hand over the knee cap as the knee bends and straightens.

The reason for this noise is a relatively grey area, but we can place the noise into two main categories - Physiological and Pathological.

Physiological Noise may present as occasional crunching, popping or clicking which is normal, and is generally considered harmless. There is no association of pain or history of injury, no aggravation of sounds and combined symptoms, and a sporadic nature due to buildup of air in the joint fluid.

What causes the Physiological Noise?

Tendons and ligaments around the knee can stretch slightly as they pass over a small bony lump, and then snap back into place, causing a clicking sound in the knee. This is typically the biceps femoris tendon on the outside of the knee.

Pathological noise occurs regularly and is associated with pain or swelling, it may indicate conditions including Osteoarthritis, Mensicus/ligaments issues and the kneecap tracking incorrectly.

Most people will experience the occasional knee pop or crackle, particularly when kneeling to the floor or when performing exercises such as squats. If the sound is painless, it is usually not a concern. If you have other symptoms, however, it is important to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional to establish the root cause of the noise. Following this, an appropriate treatment plan can be put in place so that the underlying issue can be addressed.

If you have noticed knee crunching, clicking or cracking with associated pain or swelling, you are welcome to ask me for advice or guidance on this via email or instagram.

Email - Ben@bencohenosteopathy.com Instagram - Bencohenosteo

#knee #kneepain #kneeinjury #kneecracking #kneerehab #Osteopathy

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Updated: Apr 26, 2020

You've finished your morning stretch routine, you've made yourself a nice cup of coffee, now it's time to get you set up properly for working from home.

You've probably been spending a lot more time working from home recently, and may be starting to develop tension in your neck, shoulders or back. Being away from the office is challenging, and will lead to many of you creating your own makeshift workstations.

It is important that you have the right work set-up, as this will enable you to work with a better posture and will help to prevent pain or injury occurring over time.

Here are my 4 tips for you.

1. Take the Laptop Off Your Lap

The most common reason for work-related neck and shoulder pain is incorrect screen position.

Whether you are using a laptop or monitor, the top third of the screen should be at eye level. If you need to, it's worthwhile investing in a laptop stand to ensure the screen is where it should be. Having your screen at the correct height will help ensure that your head and neck stay in a more neutral position therefore helping to prevent unnecessary strain to the muscles of your neck.

2. Adjust Your Chair Height

Bring your desk chair in so that your body is closer to the desk. If the chair has arms, these should fit comfortably under the desk. Having the chair in this position will make you naturally sit more upright therefore helping to prevent you from rounding your shoulders.

The height of the chair is also important. Your feet should be flat on the floor and your hips should be slightly above your knees. This will reduce the amount of tension through your lower back and pelvis therefore helping to prevent lower back pain. If you do not have an adjustable chair, think about using an orthopaedic cushion for your seat to prop yourself up.

3. Use a Separate Keyboard & Mouse

Using a separate keyboard and mouse will allow you to position your forearms and wrists correctly which will help prevent issues such as repetitive strain injury and carpal tunnel syndrome from developing. Your elbows should be bent to roughly a 90 degree angle with your forearms resting comfortably on the desk.

4. Take Regular Breaks

Posture tends to deteriorate the longer you spend sitting in a static position. The reason for this is that the postural muscles responsible for stabilising your spine and keeping you upright, become fatigued over time.

Without the usual commute to work, many of us are now walking less. It is essential that you take a break every 20-30 minutes, whether it’s getting up for a drink, having a stretch, or longer activities such as going for a walk. Not only will this help give your eyes a rest and maintain a good working posture, it will also give your postural muscles a break, helping to prevent pain developing.

You now have some simple but effective tips that will create a much better work set-up for you helping both your posture as well as injury prevention.

Hope you have a great day, and stay safe.

#stayhome #workspace #desksetup #workfromhome

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