Elif Gürkan

Back and neck pain is one of the most common problems today. By the age of 40, there is hardly anyone who has not suffered from short or long term back or neck pain. With the advancement of technology, there has been an increase in both neck and back problems due to people working sitting for too long. Mostly, not doing enough exercise, increasing the use of vehicles instead of walking puts a lot of strain on the spine and the discs in it, which need movement.

The spine is S-shaped. There is a concave curve in the neck, a convex curve in the back and a concave curve in the waist. If these healthy and natural curves are disturbed, pain starts. Inactivity is the most common cause of this S-shape. Continuous sitting work, being in front of a computer screen all the time, stressful working environment, inappropriate professional working conditions are factors in this. However, heavy lifting, falls and accidents can also damage the discs and the bone and connective tissue in the spine.

There are many causes of back and neck pain other than strain. Infectious diseases, tumoral diseases, osteoporosis (osteoporosis) and other systemic problems can also cause these pains. For this reason, the physician should first see and evaluate the patient and then start treatment.

However, for pain of mechanical origin, which is related to the branch of PHYSICAL THERAPY and REHABILITATION, we first organize an exercise program for the patient after using physical therapy, injections and medication for pain. This program is both therapeutic and protective.

Actually, EXERCISE IS OUR MEDICINE. The most important factor in preventing the occurrence and recurrence of neck and back pain is the patient’s regular practice of the exercises we prescribe.

Daily Life Suggestions for Neck Pain:

Neck pain may have causes other than neck hernias. Working at the computer, stress, working devices that are not compatible with ergonomics (making the shape and use of the devices used suitable for the health of the body), long working hours, age, lack of exercise, accidents, heavy lifting, sleep disturbance and some other less common reasons lead to deterioration of the structure of the cervical spine, which leads to pain. First, the curvature that should normally be present in the cervical spine disappears. The neck becomes straight. The curvature may even reverse at some point, and a cervical hernia may start at this level. Or, even if no hernia develops, only straightening can cause severe pain and stiffness.

Things the patient should pay attention to in daily life:
Lying Positions:

The lying position should be such that the patient is comfortable and on an orthopedic and non-soft bed. You should get used to sleeping on your side. We recommend orthopedic neck pillows as they support the natural physiologic curvature of the neck. It is usually more comfortable to sleep on the side opposite to the side of the neck pain. Pulling the legs to the abdomen is also comfortable. Sitting; especially sitting for a long time is a very unsuitable position for both back and neck. When working on the computer, it is necessary to get up and walk around every half hour.

Heavy lifting and shopping:

Heavy lifting should be done by using the strength of the leg and arm muscles and if the object to be lifted is on the ground, it should be approached well and taken in the middle of the legs and lifted by squatting as much as possible. When shopping, it would be better to shop piece by piece instead of shopping in large quantities at once and to carry them using both arms rather than one side. Carrying packages that are suitable for carrying on the patient’s lap puts less strain on the neck and lower back. However, these recommendations should be individually tailored according to the patient’s other possible disabilities (shoulder, knee).

Body Weight:

Not gaining weight and losing weight if there is excess weight is especially important for both cervical and lumbar herniated discs. Because it allows the body curves to normalize. For this, regular brisk walking should be done for 30 minutes every day.

Computer Use:

When working on the computer, the line you are working or typing should be at eye level. To do this, raise your computer and place it directly in front of you. Use an orthopedic lumbar pillow that fits on the seat for the waist. Try to reduce the number of hours you sit still. Take 2-minute breaks every half hour. Try to do the simple exercises we have given for 20 seconds regularly every hour.

Suggestion for our female patients:

Do not have your head washed backwards at the hairdresser, as this can trigger neck pain attacks. Washing your hair at home beforehand and leaving can be a solution, or when you have your hair colored, ask for the washing process to be very short. Even if this pain does not start immediately, you may have pain and stiffness within 1-2 days.