Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates


Four Life Improvements to Prevent Neck Pain

Anyone who experiences neck pain knows that it can be debilitating. This pain adds stress, worry, and irritation to your life. However, you can often avoid neck pain completely. Follow these tips to find some pain relief in your own life.

During Sleep

Many people experience neck pain simply from the way they sleep or the types of pillows they use at night. Your pillow should support your neck just as much as it supports and adds comfort to your head. According to research studies, the best kinds of pillows are those that naturally conform to your neck and head, such as memory foam and feather pillows.

Ideally, you should sleep on your back or side. When you sleep on your back, use a cervical pillow. This pillow type gives better support around your neck and aligns your neck with your spine. If you sleep on your side, you should never place your pillow too high or too flat. These positions cause your neck to bend unnaturally toward your mattress.

Not all sleeping positions are ideal. When you sleep on your stomach, you can cause your neck more damage than other sleeping positions. However, if you habitually sleep on your stomach you can use a very flat pillow or no pillow at all to keep your neck straight during sleep.

You should also strive to get enough sleep during the night to help your body recover from stress. In fact, recent studies have found that adequate, undisturbed sleep helps prevent chronic pain conditions. However, adequate sleep is not the only way to prevent neck and body pains.

Doing Exercises

Proper exercise can positively affect neck pain. As you exercise your neck, you strengthen your muscles and make them more resilient to common aches and pains. The best part is that neck exercises are quick and easy to do anytime, anywhere.

One way to exercise your neck is to simply turn your head gently and slowly turn your head to the left and the hold the position for a few seconds. Repeat with the right side. For another quick exercise, lift your shoulders up, forward, down, and back to their original position. Do this at a slow and steady pace to avoid injury.

When perform other forms of exercise such as weight lifting, running, cycling, etc., be sure to hold your head squarely over your shoulders. This position will prevent strains and injuries.

Finally, use extra care and caution when you do crunches or sit ups. If you do these workouts too aggressively, you can easily strain your neck. Keep your neck steady, yet relaxed. As you work through each rep of crunches or other ab workouts, focus your eyes on the ceiling so that your head doesn’t crane up too much. Use your abdomen to lift your whole upper body off the floor rather than your head and neck.

At Work

For people with full time desk jobs, neck pain can be a constant battle. However, there are a few things you can do at the office to prevent neck strain.

It is important to place your computer screen at eye level. If you place your screen too low, you strain your neck forward and put it in the same position that people experience with whiplash. This position causes unnecessary fatigue and pain. Additionally, if your computer screen is too high, it can also cause neck strain. It is best to hold your head in a natural position.

You most likely have a telephone at your desk. When you use the phone at work, try not to use your head and shoulder to hold the phone steady. If you need to use both hands while on the phone, speak through a headset instead. You can also implement this method in your daily routines.

In Everyday Life

Neck pain often results from the everyday activities you do. When you walk or sit, always try to practice proper posture. Sit or stand up straight to help align your neck and spine. This posture helps you prevent neck and back pain.

It can be difficult to practice proper posture as you drive—most people are so focused on the road that it’s hard to notice what position your body is in. When you sit in your car, your seat should be at a 100 degree angle. If the seat is too far back or at a sharp angle, then the head rest can’t support for your head. As a result, you are forced to push your neck forward and can experience neck and shoulder aches.

Don’t let neck pain make you feel unhappy or stationary. Implement these tips into your daily life to feel some relief. If your neck pain persists or becomes more severe, be sure to talk to a chiropractor or back and neck pain specialist.

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