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6 Great Habits to Protect Your Cervical Spine

27 June 2023

Most of us don't do enough to protect our spine. That's even truer for our cervical spine, which is made up of our seven neck bones. Thankfully with a few simple changes, you can improve your neck health and reduce the risk of future problems.

But what are those changes you can make? Well, that's what we're here to find out! Join us as we check out six great habits that will help to protect your cervical spine. Let's get started!

6 Great Habits to Protect Your Cervical Spine

1. Improve Your Posture

Simply put, improving your posture is the best thing you can do to protect your neck. Having the right posture is easy; remembering to do it is the difficult part!

The most basic requirement of great posture is to have a straight back. Ensure that your shoulders aren't slumped over. If you have a bad habit of doing this, try to press your shoulder blades together and then relax them.

Added to this, another good reminder is to keep your chin parallel to the ground. Doing all of this will prevent any unnecessary strain on your back and neck. It will also make you feel more confident.

2. Perfect your Desk and Monitor Height

Many of us have desk jobs and they can be terrible for neck and back problems, along with plenty of other issues. Your desk and monitor being at the right height is vital.

Your monitor should be at eye level, and you need to be looking at the middle of the monitor when your chin is parallel to the ground. Added to this, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle when typing.

This can be difficult to change, especially if you've had bad posture for several years. It can feel very strange at first, but you'll get used to it. Getting an ergonomic desk and chair is a great way to make the transition to having a great work posture even easier.

3. Be Careful with Phone Use

There is a recent phenomenon called 'tech neck,' which is when people get cervical spine issues because of how we look at our phones. Many people look down on their phones have a humped back while doing so.

Doing this will quickly build up pressure in your neck. To stop this, you need to hold your phone at eye level. Many people find this uncomfortable as it's more work for the arms, but it'll help to save you from neck trouble.

Of course, the other solutions will either be going hands free or cutting down on your phone time. If you're reluctant to change this habit, just give yourself frequent short breaks and stretch out your neck.

4. Practice Neck Stretches

Even if you practice perfect cervical spine habits such as having your monitor at eye level, your neck will get tense over time. Neck stretches are very easy to do and only take a couple of minutes.

Not only will neck stretches take away any tension but they'll also improve your flexibility too. Some great exercises you can do include side-to-side head tilts, chin tucks and neck rotations.

These stretches are very easy to do, and can even be practiced sitting down at a desk. If you feel any moderate pain or struggle with range of motion, it's probably best to consult a healthcare professional.

5. Sleep Properly

Sleep has a huge impact on your cervical spine in a number of ways. Firstly, we all know that sleep is a time for your body to repair and heal itself. This includes your spine, so ensure you're having at least seven hours of sleep.

Also, a bad mattress and inadequate pillow can increase pain. It's best to have a medium-firm to firm mattress and an orthopedic pillow can be a great idea. Finally, if you're comfortable with the position, try to sleep on your back.

6. Take Breaks Often

If you have a job or a hobby that involves you staying in a static position for a long time, make sure to take regular breaks. The obvious example here is one we're used a few times already, and that is if you have a desk job.

A great idea here is to follow the Pomodoro Technique of working. Here you have 25 minutes of solid uninterrupted work. Following that period, you get a 5-minute break before doing it again. In those 5 minutes, you can grab yourself a coffee, loosen up your body, and stretch out your neck.

Even if you don't follow this method, you should follow its principles. Even if it's only for 30 seconds, make sure to loosen up and then get straight back to work. It will help to reduce any tension in your cervical spine.

Final Thoughts

The last thing you want to do is have problems with your spine. But if you follow these simple tips, you'll not only have reduced tension right now, but you'll also prevent future problems. It can be hard to break old habits, but don't give up! Your cervical spine will thank you for it.