Neck pain can literally be a huge pain in the neck. Not only does it cause discomfort, it is a major reason why people take off from work. Neck pain affects a huge part of the population. While neck pain is sometimes caused by physical trauma, it is also caused by stress on the neck muscles and nerves. And if you’ve ever had a stiff neck, you know the pain it causes. The problem is that many activities that we partake in daily such as driving and computer work involve holding our heads in extended positions.
Check out these 7 best tips to avoid neck pain for good:
1. Adjust your computer screen. Your computer screen may be positioned too high for your neck. How can you tell? You will be looking up all day. If it’s too low, you will be looking down all day. Either way, your neck will be strained when it has to constantly be in an unnatural position. Try adjusting your monitor so that the top of the screen is slightly below eye level. The monitor should not be above eye level. Your keyboard should not be placed too high as it can interfere with the muscle activity in your neck.
2. Maintain shoulder support. Your shoulders provide a base for your neck, and when they roll forward, your head and neck roll forward as well. This is why you need good shoulder support and strength. Your shoulders need to be strong, especially between the shoulder blades. Without good support, your neck will topple. In addition to maintaining good posture, try strength training exercises to get your shoulders strong. Particular focus on the rhomboid muscles can help to prevent pain in your neck.
3. Make use of arm rests. If you sit at a desk all day, arm rests are practically a must. Well-padded arm rests can aid in supporting your elbows and forearms, creating a 90-degree angle to your body. Arm rests can also take the strain off of your neck and wrists and eliminate pressure on your elbow joints and forearms. If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, arm rests can alleviate some of your discomfort.
4. Sleep on the right pillow. It’s a fact that getting enough rest can help neck and back pain, and sleeping on the wrong pillow can rob you of sleep. There are no hard and fast rules about what kind of pillow you should get. It’s a matter of personal taste in most cases but a rule of thumb is to try and maintain a neutral spine. This means you want your neck flat, not flexed forward on a big fluffy pillow or extended back with no support. If you sleep on your side, you might consider getting a pillow that is contoured for side sleepers. You may have to experiment to see what works for you. If a pillow causes neck pain, take it back.
5. Change the way you drive. If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, chances are good that your driving could be contributing to your neck pain. Taking notice of your posture and supporting your head by making adjustments to your headrest can make a huge difference. Your seat should be close enough to the steering wheel so that you don’t have to lean forward to drive.
6. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.Many people have neck and back problems because they sleep in the wrong position. And that position is on their stomachs. This position puts stress on your neck and puts pressure on the disks in your lower spine. So how should you be sleeping? The least stressful position for your neck and back is sleeping on your back. Put one pillow beneath your head and neck. Avoid putting lots of pillows under your neck, as this can crunch the vertebrae. Another comfortable position is lying on your side, which relieves pressure on your back and neck.
7. Strengthen your neck. Your head is very heavy, so it makes sense to have a strong neck to support it. If you have strong deep neck muscles, they can help to support your neck and head, so try doing some chin tucks. You can sit down or stand up, and move your head back over your shoulders. You will have a double chin, but keep drawing back. Hold for a few seconds and repeat three times.
Neck pain does not need to be a regular issue for you. A few simple adjustments to your daily routine and you can be free of the daily issues with your neck. Take these few simple steps to make your life less of a pain in the neck.