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Often mistaken for stiff neck muscle fatigue shoulder and neck pain is cervical spine degeneration

Often mistaken for stiff neck muscle fatigue shoulder and neck pain is cervical spine degeneration

Article Feng Shuling “Ming Pao”

Shoulder and neck pain, is it a “stiff neck”? Hand numbness, is it tennis elbow?

In fact, it may be a symptom of cervical spine degeneration.

Dr. Xiong Weimin, Neurosurgery

Physiotherapist Ho Suk Ling

(Hong Kong News) Modern man and machine are inseparable from the body, coupled with the rise of hot desks in recent years, notebook computers have become work partners, facing the computer at work, facing the mobile phone after work, and cannot do without the tablet computer during leisure time. Using electronic products with your head down for a long time is often an important cause of cervical spine degeneration and strain.

Symptoms with different numbers of cervical vertebrae

Smartphones and tablet computers are so popular that people of all ages, men, women, and children are now “head bowers”.

Neurosurgery doctor Xiong Weimin pointed out that cervical spine problems tend to be younger. “Poor posture leads to excessive strain on the cervical spine and premature degeneration. On the other hand, due to the improvement of public health awareness, especially young people find cervical spine problems and seek medical treatment early .”

Cervical spine strain, hand numbness or hand pain can be one of the symptoms; patients may also suffer from neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, etc. It is necessary to find out the scope and affected parts of the cervical spine problem through clinical diagnosis.

“Different numbers of cervical vertebrae and different problems will cause different symptoms. For example, if the fourth cervical vertebra is affected, it may affect the muscles between the neck and shoulders; while the fifth or sixth cervical vertebra may affect the fifth nerve line. Pain in the shoulder; but the actual impact requires a doctor to estimate the approximate location of the lesion through examination; if combined with scans and MRI examinations, the problem can be more accurately identified.”

Conservative treatment without affecting life

Xiong Weimin pointed out that for milder cervical spine degeneration, such as pain in the cervical spine or nearby muscles, but the normal mobility of hands and feet does not affect daily work, conservative treatment such as acupuncture and painkillers can be used, and the situation will improve.

“If the condition is serious, it will affect the nervous system, including the central nervous system and peripheral nerves, such as bone spurs or intervertebral disc displacement pressing on the nerve line, muscular atrophy of the tiger’s mouth, forearm, etc., and even affect the patient’s life and work. The doctor will comprehensively consider the patient’s Medical history, scope and severity of pain, including whether there is neck pain, hand pain, numbness or fatigue, etc., together with X-ray film, magnetic resonance, etc. to make a diagnosis.”

Many patients with severe degeneration of the cervical spine mistook it for minor problems such as muscle fatigue and “stiff neck” and only received general treatment, such as massage and painkillers.

Xiong Weimin suggested that when shoulder and neck discomfort occurs, patients should pay more attention: “Is it just neck pain? Or are there symptoms of hand muscles and joints, such as pain, fatigue, numbness, etc.? How long has the problem lasted? If it lasts for more than a few weeks If there is still no effect after receiving general treatment, you should pay attention.”

Cervical spine pressure – When using a laptop or tablet computer, you will unconsciously lower your head to accommodate the screen, which puts pressure on the cervical spine.

Swimming is recommended to reduce the load on the spine

To prevent cervical spine degeneration, he reminded to maintain correct posture at all times, “As long as you maintain a good posture for a long time, it is the most fundamental improvement.”

The computer screen should be placed at an appropriate height, preferably directly in front of the user. “Sometimes at work, the computer screen is placed on the left or right side of the desktop, and the user has to turn his head and neck to watch the screen, which increases the pressure on the cervical spine. “

He also reminded to do moderate exercise, especially swimming, which can reduce the load on the spine through buoyancy; and pay attention to adequate nutrition, especially calcium and protein, which can help strengthen bones and muscles. In addition, when lifting heavy objects, the weight should be evenly distributed on both sides of the body, not just on one side, causing uneven force on the neck and shoulders.

Maintain correct posture and adhere to the 90-90-90 rule

To prevent the cervical spine from straining due to long-term pressure, maintain a correct posture when working, and strictly abide by the “90-90-90 position” rule.

The elbow joints form the first 90-degree angle, the knee joints should also maintain a 90-degree angle, and finally the waist and hips form a 90-degree angle, which is the most ergonomic.

Physiotherapist He Shuling pointed out that more and more people are used to working with laptops or tablets, and will unconsciously bow their heads to the screen.

Cervical spine bears 50 lbs

“Especially in recent years, working from home or using computers on low tables in coffee shops has become popular, which leads to improper posture when using computers.”

“The human head weighs about 10 to 15 pounds, accounting for about one-tenth of the body weight. When using electronic products, if the head is tilted forward by about 15 degrees, the cervical spine will bear 2 to 3 times the pressure; if it is tilted forward by about 45 degrees, the cervical spine will bear The pressure is up to 5 times higher.

The head weighs 10 pounds, and the cervical spine must bear 50 pounds, so you must pay special attention when using electronic products. “

He Shuling explained that there are 7 cervical vertebrae, and the most stressed are the sixth and seventh.

“Because of its large curvature, if it is under pressure for a long time, such as working with the head down for a long time, it is easy to cause problems such as cervical spine degeneration, intervertebral disc herniation, or muscle fatigue. In severe cases, it will cause nerve line compression, headaches, and hand numbness.”

1 hour break per work

She reminded that when using electronic products, the neck should be straight, the eyes should be looking at the first line of the screen, so as not to cause the head to droop, and the back should be against the back of the chair.

“Because of working for a long time, the body will unconsciously lean forward, which will cause the head to lean forward, causing neck pain. Leaning on the back of the chair can reduce this situation.”

In addition, if you use a tablet computer for a long time, you must add an external keyboard to keep your eyes and hands at a certain distance from the computer screen, which can reduce the situation where the head leans forward to accommodate the tablet computer screen.

Sometimes when you concentrate on your work, you will unconsciously maintain the same posture for two or three hours. “If it is a bad posture, it will have a great impact if it lasts for two or three hours.”

He Shuling suggested that patients with cervical spine problems set up an alarm device to remind themselves to take a break after every hour of work. “If possible, it’s best to walk around; at least remind yourself to do some stretching exercises to decompress the cervical spine.”

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