Whether you have a nagging injury or you just slept on it wrong, neck pain is at best an inconvenience, and at worst, it is absolutely debilitating. Here at Coastal Chiropractic in Greenacres, we see patients with neck pain every day. We’ve gathered some of the best tips to help avoid neck pain to help ease your aches. If you have consistent issues with pain, call us today to schedule an appointment. You will be amazed at what an adjustment can do for you!
How long has it been since you replaced your pillow? Probably quite a while, we’re sure. Many people just accept whatever pillow they currently sleep on, even if it doesn’t give them the support they need to avoid pain issues. It’s recommended you find a pillow that maintains neutral alignment of your spine, which supports the natural curve of your neck. Depending on the position you sleep in, different types of pillow may fit the bill. If you’re a back sleeper, a flatter pillow may be right for you, though an orthopedic pillow with a deeper recess for your head and extra support for your neck may be even better. Finding a pillow that works with how you sleep can prevent many types of aches and pains.
-Back to Sleep
If it is possible for you to do, sleeping on your back is the best way to let your entire spine rest comfortably. We have found that some people have had success sleeping on their back with a pillow under each of their arms. This takes the strain off the neck by supporting both arms. If you have spinal arthritis or spinal stenosis, you might find positive results by sleeping at a slight incline with a foam wedge pillow or adjustable bed. However, if sleeping on your back isn’t possible, side sleepers should be sure their pillow isn’t more than six inches thick to prevent your head and neck from turning or bending unnaturally to either side. If you aren’t comfortable, it’s your body’s signal that something should be adjusted.
-Eye to iMac
Neck issues don’t only stem from sleeping positions and pillows though. Everyday activities like working on a computer can cause a lot of pain if you don’t take the precautions. To avoid aggravating your neck, ensure your computer monitor is at eye level with you. If you notice that when you’re working on the computer you have to look down at the monitor, you should prop it up with monitor stands or lower your chair. If you work on a laptop, it typically requires you to look down in order to see the screen. If possible, connecting your laptop to a separate monitor will help you a lot. We spend a lot of time at work, so proper workplace ergonomics is important to prevent aches and pains.
Over the past 15 years or so, we have seen a consistent increase in neck issues that can be tied to texting or browsing on a cell phone. When you’re looking down that much, you put a great deal of strain on those neck muscles, and it’s impossible to maintain good posture when you do that. That added stress and strain can lead to premature degeneration of your neck muscles and spine. Using your cell phone at eye level, minimizing time spent texting, and taking frequent breaks can all help avoid these issues from worsening.
-Heads Up, Headset
Whether you’re on the phone a lot at work, or you just frequently use it at home, you can feel the cramp and strain of tilting your head to the side for extended periods of time. Replacing your handset with a headset will remove the strain of long phone calls. There are many different models of headsets and earpieces on the market, so finding one that is comfortable and fits your needs shouldn’t be too difficult.
-Stretch It Out
When you keep your neck muscles strong and loose, you’re less likely to have pain crop up. Regular short sets of stretching and strengthening these muscles is an easy thing you can do, even while sitting at your desk at work. Chin tucks are a great way to strengthen those muscles without much effort. When you stretch, rotate your head to loosen up the muscles in all directions. We’ll be covering stretches and exercises in greater detail in the future, but this is an easy habit to add to your day-to-day routine to get started.
-Great to Hydrate
You may be surprised to learn how much it affects you when you’re dehydrated. The discs in your vertebrae need to be well hydrated in order to stay pliable and strong. It’s recommended you drink at least eight large glasses of water a day for proper hydration. This can take a bit of practice to get into the habit, so try setting an alarm to go off every two hours to remind you to drink some water. Swap out the soda at lunch and dinner with water to make it even easier.
-You’re Gonna Carry That Weight
Whether it’s a purse, laptop bag, backpack, or briefcase, many of us have something to carry every day. When that weight is only carried on one side of your body, it causes your shoulders to become uneven, which strains your neck muscles. Try reducing the amount of weight you’re carrying around by only bringing the essentials, and switch up which side you carry it on to make sure it is evenly distributed.
Many of the most common neck issues stem from poor posture. Without supportive posture, the muscles and ligaments that support your neck are put under excessive strain. To give you an idea of how much posture affects you, consider this: for every inch your head shifts forward, an extra ten pounds are added to the muscles in your back and neck. That means a five-inch shift forward equals a whopping 50 pounds of force that your back and neck have to carry. To avoid this, practice strong posture and keep your chin tucked inward to reduce that strain.
If you have been dealing with neck pain on a regular basis, these steps will help ease the strain. However, an adjustment may be necessary to repair years of damage. Call Coastal Chiropractic today to schedule your first appointment. As the premier Greenacres chiropractor, we’ll be happy to help you stand up straight. We hope to hear from you soon!