Did you know that chronic neck pain can be caused by your habits? If your daily routine involves using a cell phone or a portable workstation, reading books, or sitting on the couch to stare at the television, you may need to take some precautions. Everyday activities like these can cause neck pain over time. Especially if you are staying in one position for a long period of time. This article offers up some tips to on how to protect your posture and deal with neck pain.
Check Your Position
Looking down causes your neck to lean forward. This position requires support from the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles in the neck and other muscles in the shoulders. Staying in a bad position for too long can zap muscles, leaving you them overstretched and weak. If you happen to leave your neck in the wrong position, your neck and shoulders will start to hurt.
The same thing is true if you are slouching in a chair or sitting hunched over for long periods of time. Try to avoid slumping your shoulders and neck forward. If you are seeing soreness in your neck from sitting in front of the computer, raising your screen to eye level can help you prevent this. Even small changes to improve posture like this can make a difference. For example, if you are working on a PC and you can’t raise it up any higher, put a stack of books underneath it until it’s eye level.
The position of your spine is essential as well. If you are sitting at a desk or work at a table, sit up straight with your shoulders back and your neck aligned. Stand up every half hour and change your position.
In case you are trying to relax on a comfortable chair or couch, use the armrests. Why? The neck muscles are associated with the shoulder bone muscles. Removing weight from the arms will take weight of the shoulders as well. This can help the muscles unwind. Also remember, to get up at least once every hour to change positions.
If you are experiencing neck pain that continues for longer than two weeks, you should get help from an expert. More serious problems from neck pain can include joint inflammation, cracked vertebrae in the spine, fractures, scoliosis and whiplash injuries. When a back problem persists for over two weeks, it’s wise to visit your primary care physician, osteopathic doctor or a chiropractor. The doctor will examine you and refer you to a spine specialist if needed.
Typically if someone is having back problems 4 to 8 weeks after care, they should see another practitioner. A specialist can give you stretching and strength exercises to rehab your neck, like the following:
· Start with your head in a relaxed position while you are sitting or standing up straight.
· Slowly turn your head to one side and hold it for a few moments.
· Return your starting position and then turn your head to the other side. Try to avoid rolling your neck as much as possible.
The neck is generally suited to pivot left and right, forward and back, but it doesn’t have a lot of range when twisting side to side.
Strengthen Your Neck
Neck strengthening activities can help you recover from soreness. The following exercise is useful for stretching the SCM muscles located in the sides of your neck. Speak with your physician first before trying this. If it’s safe, try doing this activity daily, then get it down to a couple times a week. After that you can focus on preventative maintenance to avoid future soreness.
1. Sit in an upright position, making sure your head is in its normal resting position.
2. Next, take your two fingers and push on your chin, tucking it in until you have pushed your chin in as far back as comfortable. Keep your head level and don’t tip or nod your head.
3. Hold it for three to five seconds then release. Do this ten times.
The main idea is to sit up straight and keep things like electronic screens at eye level. Strengthening activities like this can help build strength and avoid soreness. Your health care provider will work with you to determine what course of action is best for you. Total Home Health can connect you with experienced health care experts who are ready to help you live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Join today to learn jumpstart a longer, healthier life.