A Pain in the Neck!
Neck pain is one of the most common complaints I see in my clinic and it is a right pain in the neck!
Medical conditions can cause neck pain, including osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and Ankylosing spondylitis. In cases like these consult a medical practitioner, especially if you notice muscle weakness, numbness or pins and needles.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Wake up in the morning discover that you can’t turn your head so you conclude you must have slept awkwardly? The pain and restricted movement that you are experiencing stems from muscle tension or muscles that are out of balance. The most common causes of tight neck muscles is your occupation, environment and your posture! Though mental health can also be taken into consideration due to how depression may effect someone’s posture.
Working on a Computer!
Working for long hours on a computer really is a pain in the neck! Have you ever stopped to work out how many hours a day you spend on a tablet, laptop or computer? Very often your head is held hanging forward at an angle because of the position of your screen. As a result increased weight is placed on your cervical spine and the result can be painful!
Experience neck pain at night or in the morning? Then it is worth considering the position you sleep in. For example if you sleep on your front with your head turned to the side. You risk waking up with a sore neck. Even the thickness of your pillow may be problematic. This is because if it is too low or too high it causes poor spinal alignment. It is worth trying different types of pillows in store. This means that you can make sure that your neck and head are properly supported. As well as you spine being in the correct alignment.
Not Moving Enough
Our lifestyles and work can cause us to restrict how often and how much we move. Working for long hours on a computer requires the position of the head to be fairly static. Simply put, the muscles lose the ability to achieve a full range of movement. For example turning your head to to look over your shoulder whilst driving. You might struggle to be able to see.
Hobbies & Neck Pain
For instance, I’m a road cyclist which means that I have to hold my head in a locked position for hours. The next day my neck can be seriously uncomfortable. What about knitting or sewing. Activities that involve the head hanging forward for extended periods of time are going to be the likely culprit!
Tips to Help Your Neck Pain
- Move your head gently, turning to look over your shoulder. Then try to turn your head a little bit more each time.
- Applying heat, for example with a heated wheat bag, warm bath or shower. Don’t leave a heat pad on the skin for too long or fall asleep with it on.
- Make sure the top of your computer screen is level with your eye gaze. Hold your mobile up higher to stop tilting your head forward.
- Try to put your ear on your shoulder, hold this for about 10 seconds. Try to use your breath to help you relax into the stretch.
- Lower your chin on to your chest and hold for about 10 seconds.
- Look diagonally down as if trying to look under your armpit and then hold for about 10 seconds.
- Roll your shoulders backwards for 10 and then forwards for 10.
- Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears and then firmly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Then let your shoulders suddenly drop back down. Repeat about 5 times.
Remedial massage is highly effective in reducing muscle tension, pain and improving range of motion. A good therapist will be able to go through stretches and exercises that you can do at home.