Neck pain is a very common ailment. It seems as if everyone has experienced it at one time or another. However, you may not realize that neck pain can be directly related to your posture. In today’s world of electronic devices and jobs that require working on the computer all day, little thought is given as to how your posture is impacted. In this article, we are going to take a look at what causes neck pain, how to improve your posture, and how to keep your neck as healthy as possible to ensure optimum health.
Why Neck Pain Happens
The most common reason for neck pain is tension or muscle strain. This is usually due to everyday activities. Including:
- Having your computer monitor positioned too low or too high
- Lifting something heavy using poor posture or too quickly
- Bending over a desk for hours at a time
- Turning or twisting your neck in a jarring manner while doing exercise
- Having bad posture when you are reading or watching TV
- Sleeping in an uncomfortable position
Accidents or falls may lead neck pain with more serious problems such as:
- Blood vessel injury
- Vertebral fractures
Some other reason for neck pain may be:
- Certain medical conditions like fibromyalgia
- Small fractures of the spine from osteoporosis
- Ruptured disc
- Cervical arthritis or spondylosis
- Cancer involving the spine
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
- Infection of the spine – discitis, abscess, or osteomyelitis
Home Care for Neck Pain
There are some things that you can do at home to help you ease up your neck pain.
- In the first 48 to 72 hours, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the painful area for 15 minutes at a time. After that, use a heating pad. The ice reduces inflammation, while the heat increases blood flow and healing.
- Stop doing your normal daily activity and rest for a few days. This will help with inflammation.
- Do some gentle stretching and slow range-of-motion exercises. This can include slowly bending your neck up and down, from side to side, and ear to ear.
- Have your partner or good friend gently massage the sore areas.
- Be sure you are sleeping on a firm mattress with a pillow made to support your neck.
Improving Posture to Help Neck Pain
Having good posture helps you to look better, feel better, and can alleviate neck pain and other spinal issues. Here are some tips to help you focus on improving your posture:
- Think about string. It can help to visualize a string coming from the top of your head and pulling you gently up towards the ceiling.
- Tape your back. This can be a little extreme but can really help you retrain your back. Have someone use wide, non-stretch tape to tape an x on your back from one shoulder to the opposite hip and repeat on the other side. If you hold your shoulders back before taping, this can really help you. If this is not something you are willing to do, you can also purchase a posture corrector.
- Walk tall. When you are walking be sure to keep your head straight as if you had a book on your it.
- Use a color or an object. If you need help remembering to keep a check on your posture, think of a certain color or object. Whenever you see that item, examine your posture.
- Focus on your calves. Try to allow your balance and posture rely more on your calves by putting a bounce in your step and feeling at ease. This frees up the rest of your upper body so that it can relax and automatically move into an upright position taking pressure off your back, shoulders, and neck. It also works your muscles in your abdomen. Who doesn’t want strong calves and tight abs?
Workstation Posture to Help Reduce Neck Pain
It is important for those who work at a desk all day to maintain good posture so as to avoid neck pain. Here are a few tips to follow while sitting at your desk:
- Keep your hands, forearms, and wrists straight, in line, and parallel to the floor.
- Elbows should stay in close to the body and are bent at either a 90 or 120-degree angle.
- Keep your knees at about the same height as the hips with the feet slightly forward.
- Shoulders are relaxed and the upper arms hang normally at the side of the body.
- Head is level or bent slightly forward and looking straight ahead, preferably in line with the torso.
- Feet are flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- The back is supported properly with a lumbar pillow.
- The thighs and hips are supported by a cushioned seat and remain parallel to the floor.
No matter how good your sitting posture is, staying in the same position or sitting for long periods is not good for you. You should try to change your working position as much as possible throughout the day.
Keeping Your Spine in Alignment Helps with Neck Pain
Another thing to keep in mind while you are working on your posture and reducing neck pain is that an upper cervical chiropractor can often help a great deal with these issues. A misalignment in the top bones of the upper cervical spine can often lead to neck pain and other issues throughout the body. If either the C1 or C2 is out of alignment, the spine often shifts or twists to compensate. This can irritate nerves and muscles of the neck causing pain.
Here at Precision Spine Specialists, we work with our patients to see if a misalignment is the cause of the pain they are feeling. If this is the case, we use a gentle method to encourage the neck bones to move back to where they belong. This often improves one’s posture and helps reduce neck pain.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hall or Dr. Chalke call our Franklin office at 615-778-0887 or just click the button below.
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com