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How can I alleviate neck pain that occurs during tests?

Posted May 24 2009 10:34pm

Writing the LSAT A Pain in the Neck I recently came accross this questions on Yahoo Answers- a student in need of advice:

I'm taking the LSAT in June, and my scores are relatively fine but I cannot help but think they would be better if I could alleviate the intense neck pain I have during the test. Is there anything I can do to make this not as intense? I take advil, i try to massage or use better posture, its just not working....advice? - L.s.a.t Student with neck pain

I have said this often on the Neck Pain Support Blog, studying can be a pain in the neck ! Long hours spent pouring over your notes and textbooks are not my cup of tea, and I have definitely done my share over the years. It’s physically, mentally and emotionally draining work..but alas it is important too. Often studying for long periods can cause strain to our neck if we don’t have good posture in the process. This can catch up to us in the long run- especially in times of greater stress like writing tests such as the LSAT, GRE, MCAT or whatever test ! When you are studying you may be keeping your head forward flexed for long periods of time. This puts a lot of stress on the cervical paraspinal muscles, the suboccipitals, and the upper trapezius. It can cause you have decrease in range of motion, stiffness and tightness in the muscles. Poor diet, poor sleeping habits and lack of activity can further aggravate your neck pain. These days a lot of students are doing computer work for long stretches of time which can also cause neck pain and stiffness. So here are some solutions for what you can do to alleviate the neck pain while studying:

  • Take frequent breaks while studying. Simply standing up, and walking around for 5 minutes can make a big difference.
  • Do neck stretches every morning and at least once during the day: Using a hot pack can also be beneficial for 10-15 minutes- this will help to relax the muscles
  • Check your posture while studying: Make a conscious effort to not look down and keep your head flexed forward. Use a book end or a book holder, similar to a cookbook holder so you can keep your head and neck in a neutral position. Alternately, put a phone book under your study materials to elevate them while studying so you are not flexing your head so much
  • Have good posture while on the computer- look at your chair, your desk and how everything is arranged. Proper ergonomics at the computer can go a long way in preventing neck pain
  • Watch your posture while sitting- using a lumber support cushion behind your back can help to maintain the proper lordosis while sitting. Check out the sitback rest for this purpose.
  • Get a good neck pillow for sleeping at night. Sleep is extremely important for your body- it’s when your body rests and heals. I would recommend a cervical support neck pillow for your neck. Check out Arc4life’s Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow or the Linear Gravity Support Neck Pillow for a good support pillow
  • Drink lots of water while studying. I know most students prefer coffee, high energy drinks like Jolt, and Pop drinks like Coca-Cola. There are lots of benefits to drinking just plain old water. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. A Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. I could go on and on about the benefits of water…for another time !

Studies have shown that extended use of computers can lead to neck pain in students. Studying is important and if done ergonomically correctly, we can all do it without pain and anguish.

Additional Resources:

Visit Arc 4 life for your online selection of cervical supports and neck traction products for neck pain relief, neck stiffness and discomfort. Learn how to Choose the Best Neck Pillow for Sleeping, How to Get rid of tight muscles and soreness, how to wear a lumbar support belt and MORE on! Add to Technorati FavoritesDeliciousBookmark this on DeliciousStumble It!

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