LINCOLN, Neb., May 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As if working from home or feeling the pressure around mitigating the spread of COVID-19 isn't difficult enough, we now must deal with the pain of wearing masks. While admittedly protective, mask wearing can become a real pain in the neck that's easy to prevent, according to chiropractor, Dr. Scott Donkin.
"I have observed that people wearing protective masks tuck in their chins more than when they were not wearing masks," he said. "Extra chin tucking with additional forward head/neck flexion, tilting, or twisting are—in my opinion and observation—adding fuel to an already raging inflammatory fire."
Protective masks—while necessary at this time—can add to the already heightened tension during the pandemic because they can cause wearers to force their heads and necks farther forward or side-to-side to view their tasks.
"Many of my patients who work in essential healthcare and personal services now wear masks for a significant part of their day," he said. "They suffer from increased neck pain, headaches, shoulder/arm/hand pain as well as midback pain."
Now that many retail stores are requiring their employees to wear masks all day while performing their duties, Dr. Donkin is concerned that more people will suffer these unintended consequences from wearing masks.
He is an ergonomic consultant to the office furniture industry and for consumer products such as standing desks and pillows.
Dr. Donkin offers solutions:
- Look at the mask you are wearing to identify obstructions in your visual field that could make you compensate by unnaturally shifting your head, neck, or body.
- Position your mask for maximum protection while optimizing your movements.
- Fit your mask closely to the bridge of your nose and cheeks.
- Take frequent "unmasking" breaks to lean back, move, and stretch in the opposite direction to relieve cumulative tension.
- Try different types of masks that might make it easier for you to breathe if that's an anxiety-causing concern too.
- Before you don your mask (and when you take it off), take a few slow, deep breaths.
Contact: Scott Donkin; (402) 488-1500; [email protected]
Scott Donkin, DC, DACBOH, has been in chiropractic practice for 38 years in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is the author of SittingSmarts and Sitting on the Job and an ergonomic consultant to the office furniture industry.
SOURCE Dr. Scott Donkin