Hidden Causes Boost Risk of Long-term Pain up to 254%

I may be seeing a lot more patients with neck and shoulder pain this year. Why? Because a single hidden cause of neck and shoulder pain put nearly 67 million people at risk in 2011 alone. And most of these people weren’t at risk the year before.

The problem is tablet computers… or more correctly, the way people use tablet computers. And if you were one of the 66.9 million new owners in 2011, you may be headed to your doctor soon.

You see, tablets are handy. Their small, light and invite use almost anywhere. Laptop computers are handy, too. But – in spite of their name – most people use them on a desk or table. They save their laps for their tablet.

According to new research from the Harvard School for Public Health, that’s the problem. People are using tablet computers on their laps, and this “hunched over” posture puts a strain on your shoulders and neck.

To achieve a “neutral” posture – one that doesn’t strain your neck and shoulders – you have to view your tablet more at eye level. In other words, in the same position you keep the monitor for your desktop computer.1

Unfortunately, this position makes it awkward to use the tablet – especially if you have to type. Imagine the discomfort of holding your arms out to type on a screen that’s in front of you at eye level.

Of course, you can put your tablet on a stand, and use a wireless keyboard. But that gives you a lot more equipment to carry. And defeats the entire reason you bought the tablet.

At the very least, take a break every few minutes while using your tablet device. Stand up, stretch, do gentle shoulder and neck rotations. And if you begin to feel any neck or shoulder discomfort, give your tablet a few days off.

As large as the number of people tablets put at risk may be, there’s an even bigger risk factor. In fact, it affects 2 out of every 3 adults. And increases their risk of long-term pain by as much as 254%.

A new survey of 1,062,271 people discovered that just being a little overweight increases your risk of pain by 20%. If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, that risk jumps to at least 68%. And for the heaviest adults, the risk is 254%.2

Here’s how to figure your risk:
1. Write down your weight in pounds.
2. Multiply your height (in inches) by itself.
3. Divide your weight by the height calculation in step 2.
4. Multiply the result by 703.

This gives you your body mass index (BMI). A result under 25 puts you in the normal range. 25 – 30 is considered overweight. Anything above a 30 is considered obese.

So a 6’ man who weighs 275 pounds would make the following calculation…
1. 275 pounds
2. 6’ = 72” So, 72 x 72 = 5184
3. 275 / 5184 = .0530
4. .0530 x 703 = 37.26

So, at 275 pounds our man is obese. His pain risk would be at least 68% higher.

Now let’s look at a 5’ 6” woman who weighs 140 pounds.
1. 140 pounds
2. 5’6” = 66” So 66 x 66 = 4356
3. 140 / 4356 = .0321
4. .0321 x 703 = 22.59

At 140 pounds, our woman has a “normal” body weight… and no extra risk of pain, according to the study.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Because the one thing millions of people do to lower their BMI may also be causing pain.

Jogging has been popular since the 1970’s. And it can help you manage your weight. But it can also contribute to pain in a surprising way.

I’m not talking about running injuries here. I’m talking about running shoes. As it turns out, those fancy jogging shoes you paid $100 - $150 for may do more harm than good.

According to a recent university study, the built-up padding in these shoes creates an unnatural situation. All that padding – which is meant to lower the strain on your joints – actually increases torque at the ankle, knee and hip.3

All the padding and support in those fancy shoes also tends to weaken your foot, because the muscles, tendons and other parts of your foot no longer have to provide the support they normally would.4

Simply put, those fancy running shoes put extra stress on these joints… which can lead to injuries.

The answer here is probably “moderation.” Jogging is a lot healthier than being a couch potato. But don’t overdo it. There’s no strong reason for anyone to train for a marathon.
You can beat these last two hidden causes of pain with a simple approach. Combine resistance training with walking or cycling.

Resistance training builds muscle – which revs up your metabolism to burn more fat. Walking and cycling gently build endurance.

Your body is a finely tuned machine. Sometimes, we throw that balance off in unexpected ways. The result is pain. But with these tips, you should be able to enjoy life more – with far less risk of pain.

Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.

1 Young, J.G., et al, “Touch-screen tablet user configurations and case-supported tilt affect head and neck flexion angles,” Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation. Jan 12, 2012; 41(1): 81-91.

2 Stone, A.A. and Broderick, J.E., “Obesity and Pain Are Associated in the United States,” Obesity. Jan 19, 2012; doi:10.1038/oby.2011.397.

3 Kerrigan, D.C., et al, “The Effect of Running Shoes on Lower Extremity Joint Torques,” PM&R. Dec 2009; 1(12): 1058–1063.

4 Warden, S., “Barefoot Running: When to ditch the shoes,” Indiana University. June 2011.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Woliner is a board certified medical physician and modern day pioneer in the world of alternative men’s health and nutritional science. Using a unique combination of modern “Western” medicine and traditional holistic healing practices, Dr.Woliner has revolutionized men’s health care treatments for many of today’s most common male health concerns – specializing in alternative treatments for Prostate enlargement (BPH) and a myriad of erectile concerns and men’s sexual health issues.