You may have used the phrase ‘a pain in the neck’ when referring to your partner before, but did you know it might be true?  When you’re in a relationship it’s likely you’ll have a tendency to share everything, but it’s not necessarily good for your neck – or back – health. 

Regular exercise

Regular exercise

Here British Chiropractic Association chiropractor Rishi Loatey shares a few tips to help make sure you and your partner to keep back pain at bay and stay posture perfect.

Car sharing

If you share a car with your other half - which many of us do - it’s important that you change the seat position to one which suits you every time you drive, particularly if undertaking a long journey. Most of us would think to change the position of the seat itself, but car mirrors, steering wheel height, and even the position of your seat belt can all have an effect on the position of your neck or back.

In the correct position, your arms should have a slight bend in the elbows when placed on the steering wheel, and the back of the seat should be positioned backwards slightly. If the wheel is too high and far away, tension will build up in your shoulders and upper back. If it is too low and close to you, the wheel may be touching your legs, which will reduce your ability to turn it freely, putting strain on the wrists and the muscles of the upper back.

Your mirrors should be positioned so that there is minimal head movement when looking between them – you should only need to move your eyes to check each one, to avoid sudden neck movement.

Pick the right mattress

The trouble with sharing a bed with your partner is that mattresses are rarely suited to both of you. My tip would be to always shop for mattresses together, and if possible pick two single mattresses which can be zipped together, to ensure you both get the support you require.

Your sleeping position in bed can also affect your back. If you are lying on your side, your spine should be in a straight line parallel to the mattress, so it doesn’t sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). Your neck should be a continuation of the straight spine and not too high or too low on the pillow.

Set up your tech

Regular use of technology affects our posture, which can lead to increased pressure on the muscles, joints and discs in the spine. 56% of people surveyed by the BCA’s latest study indicated that they experienced back and neck pain after using some form of technological device, with 35% blaming their laptop or desktop computers.

If you share a computer with your partner, remember to set up your desk and chair properly when you’re working from home. Back pain from poor computer posture is a common complaint, and the position of your seat is a key factor.

Your seat should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground, your knees bent, but with a slope from your hips to your knees. Your eyes should be level with the top of the screen, so you may need to put the screen some sort of stand to bring it to the right height. Sit right back in the chair and relax into it, and remember to take regular breaks so you’re not sat in the same position for too long. 

Sit up straight in front of the TV

When catching up on your favourite Netflix shows together, try to avoid slouching on the sofa. Sit right back and relax into the back of the seat.

Regularly sitting in the same position for too long is also a common trigger of back pain, so I recommend you get up and move around at regular intervals.

Moving to a new pad

If you are moving into a new place together, make sure you’re aware of your back when lifting and carrying your belongings. Be careful when carrying heavy items together, as if one of you was to move unexpectedly, this could cause injury to your partner. When picking up boxes or furniture, face the item, and bed from the knees to pick it up, without bending your back.  Keep your feet apart, and your elbows bent, and follow the same when you place the item back down.

Those who sweat together, stay together

One of the best ways of keeping back pain at bay is regular exercise, as building up your muscles can help protect your back. As a couple, you can go on long walks and bike rides outside, play partner sports like tennis, or go to the gym together and spot each other. But remember to warm up properly, so you don’t cause yourself injury.

You can both also try out the BCA’s Straighten Up UK programme of 3-minute exercises before bed or first thing in the morning to promote balance, strength and flexibility in the spine.

Adding one more to the family

If you’re starting a new chapter together with a little one, make sure you choose a pushchair with adjustable height settings, so that you can change the height of the handle to suit both of you. You should be able to walk upright with a straight spine, with your hands resting at a comfortable height. I also advise you check how comfortably you can collapse a pram to fit in the car, and if you can comfortably carry it when it’s folded up.

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