News

‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine!

Let’s be honest. We are all addicted to our phones…

‘Text Neck’ is a new medical term and a world-wide health concern which impacts millions. It describes a repetitive stress injury or overuse syndrome in the neck, caused by prolonged use of mobile devices with the head bent downward and not moving. Also called Tech Neck (or Forward Head Syndrome), text neck is commonly associated with texting, but it can be related to many activities performed on phones and tablets while looking downward, such as surfing the web, playing games, or doing work.

When texting on a phone, it is common to bend the head forward and look down at a 45° or 60°angle. The neck is not able to withstand this amount of pressure (22-27kg) over a prolonged period.

TEXT NECK SYMPTOMS typically begin as a relatively mild ache in the neck or upper back:

This forward head posture compresses and tightens the muscle, tendon and ligament structures in front of the neck while the muscles, tendon, and ligament structures behind the neck become long and weakened. This plays a role in numerous symptoms that stem from the cervical spine, including:

  • Stiff neck
  • Neck pain and/or upper back pain
  • Muscle weakness: shoulder muscles are often weak due to bad posture.
  • Headache
  • Clicking of the neck joints.

Do you suspect you might be suffering from Text Neck?  Book an appointment with your physiotherapist today.

 

Have you done your monthly Breast Exam?

Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it’s more likely to be treated successfully. While no single test can detect all breast cancers early,  performing breast self-exam in combination with other screening methods can increase the odds of early detection.

It only takes 10 minutes!

Do a self examination every month, at the same time, ideally one week after your menstruation and on the same day if post menopause.  Any changes or abnormalities noted during your monthly self examination should be reported to your physician without delay.

Look

Stand in front of a mirror, hands on hips and look carefully at each breast separately and comparatively for any changes.

Raise your arms over your head and look at each breast as you turn slowly from side to side.

Bend forward and look at each breast with your hands on your hips and shoulders turned in, then with your arms relaxed and hanging in front of you.

Feel

Stand with one hand behind your head and with flattened fingers of your other hand gently examine your entire breast area (breast, nipple area from armpit to collar bone and below breast) in a circular rubbing motion. Examine your other breast in the same way. You can do this in the shower with soapy hands.

Lying down, with one hand behind your head follow the same instructions as above. Check your nipples for any discharge.

 

 

How to make breast self-exam part of your breast cancer screening strategy

Make it routine. The more you examine your breasts, the more you will learn about them and the easier it will become for you to tell if something has changed. Try to get in the habit of doing a breast self-examination once a month to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally look and feel.

Get to know your breasts’ different “areas.” The upper, outer area — near your armpit — tends to have the most prominent lumps and bumps. The lower half of your breast can feel like a sandy or pebbly beach. The area under the nipple can feel like a collection of large grains. Another part might feel like a lumpy bowl of oatmeal.

Start a journal where you record the findings of your breast self-exams. This can be like a small map of your breasts, with notes about where you feel lumps or irregularities. Especially in the beginning, this may help you remember, from month to month, what is “normal” for your breasts. It is not unusual for lumps to appear at certain times of the month, but then disappear, as your body changes with the menstrual cycle (if you are still menstruating).

 

BackWeek 2019 – Reboot brain and body

Reboot brain and body

For 2019’s National Physiotherapy BackWeek (1-8 September), the South African Society of Physiotherapy is challenging employers and employees to schedule brief ‘Brain Breaks’ to boost brain power!

Exercise is not just good for a toned, healthy body – it’s also good for a toned, healthy brain. “Our brains work better if we can squeeze a solid chunk of exercise into each day,” says Professor Witness Mudzi, President of the South African Society of Physiotherapy. “For the 2019 National Physiotherapy Back Week, we’re challenging everyone, from school learners to executives to carers, to find creative ways of ensuring that they get regular exercise or movement during the day. We call them brain breaks, as they’re so good for refreshing mental sharpness.”

Tips for sneaky exercise:

Work out at lunchtime. If your office has a gym, doing half an hour is easy; otherwise put on some comfortable walking shoes and head for the nearest shopping mall, office park or green space for a walk.

Take an active break every half hour. Go upstairs or down to make coffee; walk to a different office for a meeting; take a walking meeting with a colleague.

Go the long way. Park far from the mall entrance when shopping; take the stairs instead of the lift.

Do it the hard way. Make it a matter of pride that you never use the escalator, you always take the stairs; scrub your floors at home; mow your own lawn.

Get a dog and walk it. Dogs need the exercise, too, and they depend on you to give it!

Keep a couple of hand weights at your desk and use them while taking calls.

Ask your physiotherapist about exercises you can do using chairs, walls and window ledges. You’ll be amazed – simply doing squats sliding up and down your office wall can be quite demanding!

If you need to sell your boss (or yourself) on the idea of taking brain breaks every day, just remember: there’s evidence regular physical activity leads to better on the job performance, physical resilience (less absenteeism), more enthusiasm and, less stress. What’s not to like?

 

Article courtesy of the South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP)