Whether you sit at a desk all day, are frequently looking down at a tablet or other device, or simply woke up in pain, you’ve probably experienced either stiffness or a “kink” in your neck.
If this is a common occurrence and your days with pain are more frequent than the ones without, then you’d be well advised to make an appointment to come in and see our cervical spine specialist in New Jersey to identify the source of the problem and find a medical solution.
But if you’re like many others who feel tension or pain in your shoulders an neck, your issue may be caused by your posture and position rather than by your physiology.
Modern technology has sent many necks into spasm and we bend our heads forward, looking at our computers or devices. Our bodies are designed for our heads to be centered over our vertebrae, and any time that you move your skull forward of its natural placement you put stress on the muscles of your neck. This adds up to pain.
Pain that leads to headaches, or numbness or weakness in your arms, should be evaluated by a physician. But if you suspect that you’re simply a victim of tilting your head forward too far and too frequently, then your first step is to be more mindful of your posture. Adjust your computer so that you’re not looking down and find a way to position your phone or device so that you’re not adding to your problem.
Additionally, there are simple stretches that you can do at home or at work that can provide you with real relief by alleviating tightness in your neck muscles. Here are some of our favorites.
Assisted Neck Pull
You can do this exercise from a seated or standing position. Clasp your hands together at the back of your neck, keeping your elbows pointed out rather than forward. Take a deep breath, then drop your chin towards your chest, exhale and pull your elbows towards your seat or the floor without bending at the waist. Don’t pull too hard! Just let the weight of your arms and your head provide a gentle stretch. Take deep breaths while in this position and allow your head to fall a bit farther.
While standing or sitting, place your hands on the small of your back with your fingers laced together and your shoulders back. While in this position, allow your head to tilt to the right, trying to have your ear touch your shoulder and holding the position for a few deep breaths. Return your head to an upright position and then switch to the left side. Repeat five times.
Forward Fold With Head Nod
This stretch starts in a standing position. Allow your body to bend forward towards the ground, making sure that you are folding at the hips rather than at the waist. Hold your left elbow with your right hand and your right elbow with your left hand, letting your head hang straight down, then nod your head up and down as if saying yes. After completing this move, shake your head as if saying no. Repeat.
The Nodding Stretch
While sitting or standing, nod your head in an exaggerated fashion, looking up towards the ceiling as high as you can and then dropping your chin to your chest. Repeat several times, then return to upright and circle your chin three times to the right and three times to the left.
These stretches are meant to provide you with relief of temporary, intermittent pain. If your pain is chronic, contact our office today to set up a time to come in and see us.