Maybe your neck pain comes from long hours at work. Maybe they’re the result of your exercise regimen, or from having a couple of little kids who you’re constantly running after.
Whatever the cause, it’s easy to lose the range of motion you had when you were younger.
If you’re suffering from neck pain, you’re not alone. Text neck is a real pain that comes from holding your head in a downward-facing position, whether it’s caused by looking at a monitor or screen (the most common cause) or spending an hour a night reading bedtime stories to your toddler. It’s all about posture and mechanics, and if you’re doing it wrong then you’re facing a future in which the pain will only get worse.
The good news is that the problem has a solution. In fact, it has several solutions. Here are our top tips for stopping the neck pain trend in its tracks.
- Raise Your Consciousness About Raising Your Head – One of the reasons that we get neck pain is that we’re not aware that we’re holding our heads in an unhealthy position until it’s too late. Think about it. If you sit in one position for too long, you have a hard time getting up, or might even find your legs have fallen asleep. Holding your head in a downward-tilted position for an extended period leads to pain that can easily be avoided by remembering to look up every once in a while. Better yet, set up your work station so that your monitor is at eye level so your eyes are consistently looking straight ahead. If it helps, tack a favorite photograph up in your office at the right level to give yourself a target, or set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to shake off that awkward position you’ve assumed.
- Drink More Water – You may wonder what hydration has to do with neck pain, but in addition to just being healthy for you to drink a lot, there’s a method to our madness: if you drink water you will have to get up to go to the bathroom. That will knock you out of your unhealthy position and force you to move your muscles. When you walk to the washroom, remember to give yourself a good stretch.
- Check Your Sleep Hygiene – Not only do you want to make sure that you have a comfortable mattress that allows you to get plenty of rest, you also want to have the right pillow for your sleep position. Sleeping on your stomach should be avoided at all costs, but if it’s the only way you get to sleep then make sure your pillow is flat and your hips are elevated. Side sleepers should have their heads supported just enough to keep their spine straight, and the same is true for those who sleep on their backs.
- Do the Right Exercises – You want to strengthen the muscles that support your posture. That goes beyond your core: you also work any muscles in your mid-back by doing exercises like lateral pull-downs or seated rows.
If your neck pain is just an occasional thing, then these exercises should provide all the relief you need. If pain has become a constant companion, it’s time to visit our cervical spine specialty practice in New Jersey for diagnosis of your problem. Contact us today to set up an appointment.