Neck pain is something that most people deal with at one point or another. Since this part of the body contains so many tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and all of those components are used on a constant basis, it’s no wonder why neck pain is so common.
Neck pain can range from moderate to severe, and it can last for a short period of time or it can be chronic. It can also be the result of an underlying condition, or you might simply find that you wake up one morning with pain and stiffness. Whatever type of pain you are experiencing and whatever the reason, there are certain things that you can do to reduce your discomfort.
Here are some tips that can effectively help you alleviate the pain in your neck.
Get a New Pillow
A tremendous amount of strain can be placed on your neck while you’re sleeping. Your neck supports the weight of your head and upper body, which means that the muscles, ligaments, and tendons are hard at work even when you’re asleep.
If you are frequently waking up with a stiff neck, the problem could be your pillow. It might not be providing you with enough support. Look for a pillow that is designed to support the natural curve of your neck. Also, keep in mind the position that you sleep in the most. For example, if you are a side sleeper, try a pillow that is specifically designed to support your neck while you’re lying on your side. It might take some trial and error, but once you find the right pillow, you should see a significant decrease in those stiff necks in the morning.
Try Sleeping on Your Back
If it’s possible, try to sleep on your back. This is the ideal sleeping position, as it allows your spine – including your neck – to be positioned in the proper alignment. If you are a stomach or side sleeper, you’re placing unnecessary strain on your neck, as it isn’t being held in a natural position.
If you find that back sleeping isn’t comfortable, try sleeping in a slightly inclined position to see if it makes any difference. Once you get used to sleeping on your back, you should experience less neck pain.
Use an Ergonomic Chair
If you spent a lot of time sitting in a chair at the office – or anywhere else, for that matter – it could be contributing to your neck pain. Believe it or not, the position you sit in can put extra strain on your neck. For example, you might be sitting in a way that throws off the natural alignment of your spine, which could cause neck pain.
An ergonomic chair is designed to hold your spine in a neutral alignment; it accommodates the natural curve of your entire spine. By sitting in this type of chair, you could see a significant improvement in your neck discomfort.
Adjust Your Computer Screen
Many people who look at computer screens for long periods of time end up developing neck pain. That’s because the screen may not be in a position that allows for optimal viewing. For example, it might be set to low or too high, or it could be set too far away from you. If the computer screen isn’t properly positioned, you’re going to end up holding your neck in an awkward position to view it.
Something as simple as raising or lowering the monitor of your computer could make a huge difference in the way your neck feels.
Adjust Your Position
Sitting for extended periods of time can contribute to neck pain. This is especially true if you are sitting in the same position, our shoulders are hunched, and your feet aren’t placed flat on the floor. For example, if you sit in a recliner a lot, or you tend to cross your legs, your neck could suffer.
Try to sit as straight as possible without slouching or holding your head in a way so that it’s pushed forward, and keep your feet on the floor. Take breaks as much as you can. Stand up and stretch the muscles in your neck. Simply rotating your head in a clockwise and counterclockwise fashion a few times can alleviate some of the strain on the soft tissues in your neck.
See a Physical Therapist
If your neck pain is chronic or severe, scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist might be in your best interest. A PT will accurately diagnose the source of your pain and develop a customized treatment plan that can strengthen your neck and alleviate your pain. Treatment might include any number of modalities, including exercises, massage, ultrasound therapy, the application of hot and cold packs, or electronic nerve stimulation.
By following these tips, you can ease your current neck pain and prevent it from occurring again in the future. To learn more about treating pain in your neck or to schedule a consultation for physical therapy, please contact our office at your earliest convenience. Our staff of professional physical therapists can help you find the root of your neck pain and treat it.