BE GONE Ipaditis - Simple tips to help relieve neck & upper back pain
Ipaditis – a definition you will not find on Wikipedia & a condition not discussed in medical journals, yet this serious problem causing strain, inflammation, tightness & tension & is one we need to be aware of.
I refer to the term Ipaditis regularly when speaking to students & clients about their symptoms of tight neck & shoulders, sore upper back, headaches & fatigue.
A condition that most of us have probably experienced at some point in time & is a result of our desk bound, stress crazed & Ipad obsessed lifestyles of today.
Ipaditis generally comes about after periods of prolonged sitting with poor posture, inactivity, poor body awareness & stress.
Typical signs to look out for when looking in the mirror include your chin poking forward, shoulders elevated around ears, shoulders rounding forward or a ‘hump upper back’ (Kyphosis).
It is important to note that these symptoms can be caused by a number of other injuries & illnesses & if you have been experiencing these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, if your movement is restricted or the pain is sharp & intense or interfering with other areas of your life, than please consult immediately with your Medical Professional or Allied Health Professional.
Once you have consulted with your Medical professional & had the clearance to exercise, your Personal Trainer, Yoga or Pilates Instructor can then liaise with them to design a specific program tailored to suit your needs & assist with your rehabilitation.
With this in mind, there are few simple lifestyle factors you can incorporate into your daily routine to help prevent the onset of these symptoms.
Have an ergonomic assessment of your desk or workstation completed.
If this is not available or you are working on the computer from home, position your computer screen at eye level. Your eye gaze should be directly in the middle of your computer screen. Also ensure you sit upright with correct posture & have both feet firmly on the ground at 90 degrees so you can press evenly through all 4 parts of both feet.
Take regular breaks. At least every 30 minutes, get up, go for a walk &/or do some neck & shoulder stretches.
Remember to breathe. Particularly throughout the day, at times when you are feeling stressed whether in the office, car or at home with children arguing – breathe. When you hold your breath you are more likely to clench your shoulder & neck muscles, which can result in strain & tightness. At times when you feel stressed or anxious, get up, walk away to somewhere quiet & take a few deep belly breaths.
Try not to force the breath as this can inhibit your breathing muscles & constrict the diaphragm & upper back muscles more. Instead simply focus on the breath itself, notice the sensations of the breath, temperature of the breath, the length of the breath, observe where the breath is choosing to flow within your body. You may like to add a count to the breath as you inhale for 4 counts, pause at the top & then exhale for 4 breaths. Perform a body scan of your upper back, neck & shoulders & as you exhale release all tension from body.
When playing with the children, try to get down to their level or sit upright against a wall or couch to prevent slouching & rounding your upper body forward.
When reading magazines or books, ensure you use a book holder or hold the book at eye level to prevent looking down for long period of times. Particularly important if you enjoy reading books in bed.
Schedule regular ‘Revitalise time’ for yourself. This includes time spent moving your body daily & also time spent taking time out for you. Maybe schedule a monthly massage or try a guided meditation each night to let go of any excess stress or tension within your body & to help calm your nervous system & mind.
Practice Pilates to strengthen your upper back muscles, stabilize your shoulders & open your chest. Reformer, theraband & light weights are a great resistance way to increase strength & awareness in your upper back muscles to help prevent rounding of your shoulders & to release tight muscles.
Practice Yoga regularly. At the end of a long day, a beautiful flowing class of Vinyasa or Gentle flow is a perfect way to release tired, sore & tight muscles & a great way to develop upper body strength & stabilize the shoulders. Practice moving & breathing with ease within your body & enjoy the relaxation at the end of class to help you unwind & let go.
Stay hydrated. Heating & air-conditioning can zap the water from us. When you go for your regular walk breaks from your desk, grab a glass up of water on the way back. If you find yourself forever filling up your coffee cup, caffeine can also dehydrate us so try a herbal tea instead.
I have put together a few simple exercises & stretches that you can practice either in the office at your desk or the privacy of your own home.
Next time you feel a bout of Ipaditis coming home, try these to see if it helps & remember to always consult your medical professional if the pain persists.
Here’s to a pain free happy day xo