Last week we wrote a blog on Health Issues That Affect College Students. In that entry, we covered three habits that are essential to the health and well being of college students. These strategies are foundational over the next 4+ years and will pave the way for your future in the workplace. We suggest you start with the three strategies we discussed to get the most out of this week’s focus.
How to Avoid Back and Neck Pain in College
Back and neck pain are a common occurrence for college students. Hours of lectures, uncomfortable lab benches and all nighters can play a toll on the body. Oftentimes, it’s not a defining injury that causes our college students to come to our office. It’s more common to see college students suffer as a result of the stress they have from the campus lifestyle (new eating habits, the college workload, hours in study hall and even the pressure of new friends). These changes can sometimes be a radical shift from life at home.
An article by Harvard Medical School titled 6 ways to ease neck pain does a great job at emphasizing how pain rarely starts overnight. Although they are focused on the neck, the tips they give can be just as important for your lower back. We chose three highlights from the article, applied them to a college environment and added our own comments, suggestions and video links to help college students find the relief they need.
- Don’t stay in one position for too long
Most university classes last between 50-90 minutes. This can be a long time to sit in one position. Sitting also adds the most pressure on the lower back and neck. This sets up students for future back and neck problems. If this is you, get up at least every hour. Use the end of class to be a time to stretch and get the spine moving before your next class. If you’re experiencing back or neck pain in class, check out these video blogs we made for neck pain relief and lower back relief when sitting at your desk.
- Make some ergonomic adjustments.
Students can set up their study area in a way that supports their structure. Sometimes changing: your sitting position, the computer monitor height, your eye prescription or even implementing habits like using the speaker function on your phone can make a big difference for your neck pain. If you’re a Western student in Bellingham, Washington, you may want to visit a place like Blackburn Office Furniture and Design off West Chestnut. They have an array of ergonomic desk and chairs with a trained staff that can help you find the best solutions for your study space. We spoke to the sales Exec Tom who has arranged for Western Washington University students to receive an additional 10% savings on in-store items. Just copy this blog and bring it with you when you come into the store.
- Don’t use too many pillows.
After a long day of cramming for midterms, students deserve a comfortable night’s rest. However, your sleeping position, too many pillows under your head and no support under your knees may interfere with restful sleep and lead to back and neck issues the next day. The best sleeping position is on your back with just enough pillows to support your head and a few pillows under the knees. This may be a difficult habit to make at first but once your body gets used to it, you will be surprised how refreshed you feel in the mornings.
As a student, college can challenge you physically and mentally. Although we only covered strategies to help your body, your mind is equally important in handling the stress of academics, social pressure, and career. Join us in the upcoming weeks as we talk about how to help students:
- Decompress School Stress
- Avoid the Freshman 15
Also, if you’re interested in more video blogs related to different aspects of your health, check Color Chiropractic’s Youtube channel. You can also consult with us if you have specific problems you think we can help.
Drs. Tran and Hsu