When your neck hurts, life can be miserable. And, according to one study, somewhere between 10 and 21% of Americans will experience this misery at least once a year. If you work in an office, your chances of dealing with neck pain are even higher. And it gets worse – of those experiencing neck pain, the majority will experience chronic, recurrent pain, meaning it will come and go indefinitely. A literal pain in the neck, right? Here’s the silver lining – you can reduce your odds of neck pain with these seven tips.
- When you sleep, keep your neck supported.
You can buy special pillows for the right kind of support, or you can teach yourself to sleep comfortably on your back so that your neck is properly aligned with your spine. You’ll be glad you did when you wake up in the morning with a pain-free neck!
- Sit properly when you’re working on the computer.
When you’re seated at your desk tapping away on the computer, move the screen so that it’s straight in front of you and at or slightly below eye level. Shoot for a position that makes you feel comfortable with the height of the monitor. And here’s the most important part – try to keep your chin tucked slightly so that the full weight of your head (a hefty 10 to 11 pounds!) stays back on your shoulders. This lightens the load on your upper back and neck muscles. You should also make a point of changing position and walking around every 30 to 60 minutes or so. Set a timer if you’re the kind who gets so wrapped up in a project that you forget lunch!
- Don’t use your chin to hold your phone.
Pinning your phone to your shoulder with your chin is a surefire way to earn yourself neck pain. It’s the worst! A headset is an easy solution if you’re on the phone a lot. Otherwise, put your hand to work holding up that phone.
- Work out properly.
If you’re active, you’re less likely to suffer from neck pain. Unless, that is, you work out with terrible form. Learn proper technique for the exercises you perform, and then do it – every time.
- Eat for nutrition and drink lots of water.
A diet rich in lean meats, fruits and veggies, and good fats is essentially an anti-inflammatory diet. And that’s a good thing for reducing neck pain. Make sure you’re downing lots of water every day, too. And here’s a little insider info – the anterior neck muscles have the same nerve supply as the pancreas and stomach. If you find that you get bloated after eating, try taking plant-based digestive enzymes (or eat pineapple or papaya which have natural enzymes). Your bloating will reduce, and it could also cause your neck pain to go away!
- Lift with your legs!
Reduce neck and back pain by lifting and carrying heavy things (your ridiculously heavy purse, toddler and/or briefcase, for example) properly. Try curating your purse a little so you’re just carrying the essentials, and when you pick up your little one, remember to squat instead of leaning over at the waist. When you’re carrying heavy things, remember to keep your core tight, shoulders back and chest up. It means an arm workout, but that’s a benefit, right?
- Try a little neck massage.
And it won’t cost a penny. Just reach your fingers back so you can dig your fingertips into your neck muscles. “Work” the fibers back and forth a bit until they loosen up. You can also try sliding down in your chair until you can roll your head over the top edge. Find those tight fibers and work them loose that way.
If you’re still struggling with neck pain – and you may, even if you’re doing almost everything right – chiropractic care may be able to help. Check out our recent post to learn how chiropractic adjustments can help your sore neck and then schedule your first appointment with Dr. McSweeney now.