Tandem Physical Therapy

Don't Let Mardi Gras Be A Pain In The Neck!

It’s hard to believe this time last year I was writing about how much I was going to miss Mardi Gras. Now here we are, just weeks away from Super Krewes, ladders and lawn chairs taking back the streets of New Orleans!

One thing I’ve come to know about New Orleanians is that there are two factions – one that goes all out on Mardi Gras and the other that goes far away. Either way you slice it, you both have something in common – neck pain.

Most of our readers have outgrown the “mound-of-beads-around-your-neck” look. You know the one I’m talking about, where you pile up all the beads around your neck and up to your chin – a sure sign you’ve had a successful Mardi Gras. I’m sure more than a few of you woke up with a sore neck after one of those parades. Now that you’re older and wiser your neck pain will come from somewhere else.

Whether you’re staying for the revelries or jet-setting to Disney, odds are that you’ve got quite the haul with you. If it’s not a fold out chair strung across your shoulder, it’s a 20lb carryon bag. And if you’re not rolling an ice chest down St. Charles, you’re rolling your wheelie bag down MSY. Do you see some of the similarities? I could keep going. If your hands aren’t up catching throws, they’re being whipped around on the Rockin’ Rollercoaster. I’m having too much fun.

My point is that this time of year we see a spike in neck pain, and we don’t think it’s a coincidence. To help you avoid the threat of “Mardi Gras Neck”, we’ve strung together a few bits of advice.

First, whether you’re checking parade tracker or searching for your boarding pass – hold your phone up to eye level. Don’t hold your phone in your lap while you scroll. It causes you to hunch your neck and shoulders which puts more strain through those areas.

Second, whether you’re lifting a toddler up on a ladder or putting away your carry-on in the overhead bins, start by adjusting your shoulder blades into a down-and-in position so your shoulders have a stable base to move on and you’re not overusing your neck muscles.

Next, don’t spend all your time looking up at the top deck of the floats or gazing up at the massive rollercoasters. That puts your neck in an extended position for too long which can lead to tension headaches.

Lastly, pack light. In case you didn’t know, fanny packs are back in style. You don’t need a 30lb backpack weighing you down at the parade or while you’re walking through Magic Kingdom. Bring along the essentials (your phone, wallet, and hand sanitizer) and have a great time!!!

Laissez les bon temps rouler and Happy Mardi Gras from all of us at Tandem PT!

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