Neck pain is a common problem. Nearly 25 percent of adults experience
pain at some time in their lives. Most of the time, neck pain improves within 4 to 6 weeks. Even though neck problems can be painful and frustrating, they are rarely caused by serious diseases.
While there is no “quick fix” for neck pain, the good news is that can be managed.
Causes of neck pain:
- Muscle tension (can be caused by prolonged periods holding the neck in a particular position).
- Injury to the neck resulting in whiplash, spinal fracture, or blood vessel damage.
- Herniated disk between neck vertebrae.
Most commonly this is caused by:
- Poor sitting posture while working at desk or computer; or while reading or driving
- Stressful work or home situations that increase the tension in the neck muscles.
- Sleeping in an awkward position.
- Looking up repeatedly while doing tasks such as painting or trimming trees.
- Changes in neck alignment due to eye wear.
- Changes to the normal condition of the joints and discs over time.
- Pain relieving medication.
- Heat or cold applied to the painful area
- Gentle, slow, range-of- motion exercises
- Massage to the painful area
- Firm mattress without a pillow (special neck pillows can be purchased).
Use good posture and body positions. Proper alignment of the head, neck, and back is the key to spinal comfort.
- Do regular exercise.
- Choose a good quality firm mattress, thin neck pillow that supports neck and shoulders through the night.
- Do turn to one side while getting up from lying down position.
- Use cervical collar during the day.
- Regularly walk
- Sit straight and walk straight
- In order to avoid holding the head in the same position for long periods, take break while driving, watching TV or working on a computer.
- While traveling use firm collar.
- Keep your spine straight while sitting or standing. Avoid forward bending, jogging, jerking, overweight carrying.
- Soft chair, bed should be avoided
- Sleep on your back as much as possible
- Avoid running and high-impact aerobics, if neck pain is present.
- Don’t lift heavy weights on head or back
- Avoid bad roads, if traveling by two or four wheelers.
- Don’t drive for long hours, take breaks.
- Avoid habit of holding the telephone on one shoulder and leaning at it for long time.
- Don’t take many pillows below the neck and shoulder while sleeping.
- Do not lie flat on stomach.
- While turn around, do not twist0 neck or the body, instead turn around by moving your feet first.
- Don’t undergo spinal manipulations when experiencing acute pain.
Reduce the stress and strain on your neck:
- Limit sitting unsupported or in one position to less than 30 minutes
- Sit all the way back in the chair with your feet flat on the floor (or, use a foot stool).
- Place a rolled towel between the chair and your lower back.
- Keep chest up. (Think about making yourself taller.)
- If a chair with armrests is not available, place 1 or 2 pillows on your lap to support your arms.
Sit up straight with hips, shoulders, and head facing the monitor.
- Adjust your chair to bring your hips slightly higher than your knees.
- Keep both feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- Adjust your monitor so the top fourth is level with your eyes. (If you wear progressive lenses, you may need to adjust the monitor lower.)
- To avoid eye strain: For every 20 minutes of computer use, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Avoid reading in bed with your head and neck propped on pillows.
- Hold materials up to allow you to look straight ahead.
- Use a slant board for desktop activities.
- Use arm rests or pillows to support your arms.
- Avoid tilting your head sideways to hold the phone.
- Use a headset.
- Use good standing posture to protect your neck.
- If you have arm pain, place your hand on the counter or in your pocket.
- Place one foot on a stool.
- Avoid repetitive reaching or looking up for long periods of time.
- When reaching, stand as close to the item as you can.
- If you have to reach for a shelf higher than your head, stand on a stool.
- Tighten your stomach muscles when reaching up.
- Look up with your eyes; avoid tipping your head back.