Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 12, 2019
Whether you’re cramming for midterms or pulling an all-nighter to finish a research paper, schoolwork can mean long hours in the library or slumped over a desk for many students. It’s important to finish all your assignments and come into a test feeling prepared, but if you don’t take your spine into consideration when you’re studying, you may begin to develop worsening back pain. However, if you’re cognizant of your spine and your body while you’re reading or studying, we’re confident that your spine will be in good shape no matter how well you do on that test. Today, we share some tips for students so they can protect their spine while studying.
Spine Safety Tips For Students
High school and college-aged students can help to protect their spines during the course of a study session and over the semester by:
- Having Good Seated Posture – If you’re slumped over your chair or craning your neck to view your computer screen, the lumbar and cervical portions of your spine are going to bear the brunt of the stress. Have good seated posture with your head positioned directly above your shoulders and try to have your book or computer out in front of you instead of in your lap so that you aren’t leaning forward and putting additional stress on your neck. Try to get in the habit of performing a self-check of your posture every 10-15 minutes while you’re studying.
- Take A Break – Every 30-45 minutes, take a little break and get up and move. Even if it’s just to run to the bathroom or get a drink of water, this little bit of activity will help keep spine structures loose and avoid overstressing one area. A mental break for you is also a physical break for your spine, which shoulders a decent amount of stress when seated. Incorporate regular breaks into your study sessions.
- Get Active – When possible, try to be active when you’re studying. Maybe you can listen to lecture notes on your iPad while you’re at the gym, or you can move about your house while quizzing yourself with flashcards. If you can incorporate movement into part of your study plan, you will be helping to take stress off your spine while also helping to facilitate healthy blood flow throughout your body.
- Healthy Snacks – If you’re going to have an hours-long study session, odds are you’re going to pack a snack or two to help get you through the night. We’re not saying that you need to pack celery sticks, but try to avoid foods that are high in sugars or carbohydrates, as these foods can contribute to the onset of inflammation in your spine. This inflammation can compress nerves and other vital structures in your spine. Similarly, opt for water or coffee over sodas or energy drinks, again to keep a limit on excess sugars.
- Exercise – Finally, when you’re not cramming for exams, find some time to exercise and strengthen your back. Strengthening your core and your spine will help it be prepared for the stress it will undertake while you’re studying. The stronger you help make your spine when you’re not studying, the better it will be able to avoid pain from staying in a seated position for long hours.
For more tips on how to protect your spine while you’re studying, or to talk to a doctor about your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.